A total of seven states have now been affected by the latest outbreak of bird flu in the country, Akinwunmi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, disclosed on Wednesday.
According to Akinwunmi, who listed the states as Rivers, Delta, Edo, Plateau, Ogun, Lagos and Kano, 22,573 birds have been killed since January 8 when the first case of the virus was confirmed.
He said that development partners such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had been duly informed about the outbreak.
But speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, Adesina assured Nigerians that the government was in full control, saying the situation would not be allowed to degenerate into an epidemic.
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that Nigeria will successfully control the bird flu outbreak,” he said.
“We have successfully controlled it in the past and have activated all necessary protocols and measures to ensure successful control this time.”
Nigeria first recorded an outbreak of the virus in 2006 and it lingered till 2008 when it was contained.
Adesina said as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus, he had directed a nationwide comprehensive surveillance, quarantine, depopulation and decontamination of all affected poultry farms and areas.
He said insurance package was being put in place to ensure that affected farmers did not suffer complete loss.
He tasked poultry farmers on prompt reporting of any disease outbreak in their farms, urging them to patronise only qualified and registered veterinary officers.
The minister revealed that if well cooked, poultry product was safe for consumption.
He said the main channel of infection was direct contact with infected surfaces or objects contaminated with faeces of infected birds and advised the people to imbibe high level of hygiene.