How To Stop Bird Flu

BY ODIA VICTORIA
WITH a recent outbreak of Avian Influenza in Ghana, a neighbouring country to Nigeria, poultry farmers and dealers of poultry products have been advised to adopt and practice strong bio-security strategies to guard against another outbreak in the country.
The Director of Veterinary Services, Delta State, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Charles Diai who hinted The Pointer about the development during an exclusive interview in his office, said the farmers should imbibe and practice a four-pronged bio-security strategy which include the provision of foot-dip at the entrance of their farms to ensure that customers and others who have contact with such farms are disease-free.
He said to properly maintain strong hygienic principles, poultry utensils such as egg trays, baskets, robes, crates, basins, poultry clothings and all other equipment that change hands between the farm house and the marketers has to be well disinfected before contact with the poultry farmers’ premises.
Diai disclosed that the market which is the end point where poultry products are disposed for sale is the pure mixing ground where gems, bacteria and viruses suspected to attack birds emanate from.
His words: “Your farms must not serve as hosting ground for families, customers and friends, just as gadgets brought to transact business should be kept outside the farm gate as a way of guarding against unhealthy attacks that would affect the birds.
Also, “Farmers should make their poultry pens, flies and birds proof and desist from the habit of borrowing farm equipment from neighbouring farms in maintaining their pens.
Dr. Diai advised that poultry farmers should form the good habit of disposing poultry wastes, including dead birds, by dip burials, as well as not mixing different species of birds together.
Emphasizing more on this aspect, he noted that some farmers have formed the habit of keeping piggery and poultry together; which ordinarily should be far apart, because there have been suspected cases of various new strain arising from a mixture of the bird strain and the piggery strain of the influenza virus.
Another area, he advised farmers, is the use of ‘disinfectants’. People don’t attach importance to disinfectants. This disinfectant is part of bio-security, and for Avian Influenza virus, there are specific disinfectants such as CD20, diskol, among others.
“These disinfectants ought to be used daily in the farms, especially when birds are there, whether small, medium or commercial poultry pens, this must be used for the entrance dip as I earlier pointed out.
I also advise big farms to provide free crates and sell it together with the eggs to their customers in order to avoid the intake of bacteria and other viruses into the farm.
Farmers should apply for the agric insurance scheme for their farms. This is in case of disasters where they suffer huge losses and may not be compensated by governments, because government cannot do everything alone.”