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Bird flu outbreak: Govt to fly samples to Italy for confirmation

The government is set to fly samples taken from birds suspected to

have been infected with influenza to Italy in a bid to get conclusive

lab results of the viral infestation.

Initial testing done by the Noguchi Memorial Centre for Scientific

Research confirmed the H5N1 virus infestation in 5 out of 6 bird

samples taken from a poultry farmin Achimota and Tema.

But speaking to Joy News Head of Public Health at the Veterinary

Services, Dr Bashiru Boi Kikimoto says his outfit will still need

further testing in Italy.

"That result from Noguchi, we cannot send to [the Minister for Food

and Agriculture] to announce the presence of the disease in the

country because the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and the

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have a reference laboratory in

Dova in Italy. It is only that result, when it comes, then our

Minister can now go on air and say we have avian influenza", Dr

Kikimoto said.

The OIE is the inter governmental organisation responsible for

improving animal health worldwide.

It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade

Organization (WTO). Already, there are moves to avert a transmission

of the deadly virus to the public.

Farmers who handled the sick birds in Accra and Tema have already been

tested. Dr Kikimoto, however, asked the public to be cautious."If any

bird dies on the farm, they [the public] should take it as a suspected

case and bring it for veterinary testing", he advised.

Meanwhile, a National Technical Committee has been activated to

contain the outbreak of the bird flu and will comprise officials

fromthe Ministry of Health, leaders in the poultry industry and

officials from the National Disaster Mangement Organisation (NADMO).

Government has therefore advised farmers to watch out for sick birds

on their farms.

Symptoms of infected birds include ruffled feathers, soft-shelled

eggs, depression and droopiness, sudden drop in egg production, sudden

death and nasal discharges.

The virus for now is from bird to bird but will pose danger to humans

if careless handling of infected birds transmits the deadly disease.

Credit: Myjoyonline.com

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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