BIRD FLU: Experts canvass for legalized vaccination

Poultry diseases experts have canvassed for legalized vaccination of farm chickens in order to contain the rampaging Avian Influenza, also called Bird Flu in the country. The Director, Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Olaniran Alabi had in a letter to the Directors of Veterinary Services of all the states of the federation, dated 3rd February 2021, notified the general public of the resurgence of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza in Kano and Plateau states as confirmed by the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom. Dr Alabi called on the Directors to ensure sensitization of poultry farmers and other value chain operators in basic biosecurity/hygiene measures in prevention and control of the disease. Also confirming the outbreak of the disease in Plateau state, the state director of veterinary services Dr Sipak Dawat Shaseet stated that the outbreak has been recorded on 4 farms in Jos north and Jos south local government areas. He directed all farmers to maintain strict biosecurity measures to prevent escalation of the disease to other places.

Reacting to the outbreak, the sub-Sahara African representative of Boehringer Ingelhem, Dr Moses Arukoyo stated that the poultry industry cannot afford to add the debilitating impact of Avian Influenza to its comatose poultry industry due to the damaging effect of covid 19 and the current maize and soyabean saga. Dr Arukoyo is of the opinion that the federal government needs to change the “no vaccination” status quo as this has obviously not been so aligned with.

“It is time to be very deliberate on the ‘no vaccination’ status and call for a systematic change either by a ringed vaccination approach or otherwise as keeping to that status will be tantamount to a promise of underdevelopment in the poultry industry”

In his view, the president Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa, Dr Stephen Adejoro, legalizing vaccination against the disease remains the best approach to a drastic reduction in the endemicity of the already challenged poultry industry. The poultry consultant stated that if Covid-19 could attract the much attention to vaccination as a way out of the pandemics, the poultry industry in Nigeria must accept Avian Influenza vaccination as an appropriate option to a lasting solution to its perennial endemicity in Nigeria.

Since the recent announcement of  Bird Flu resurgence in the country, farmers and other stakeholders in the poultry industry have continued to express fear and panic. According to some farmers in the FCT and Nassarawa state, they have been living in panic since they heard about the outbreak in Jos due to the fact that some of the poultry products consumed in the FCT are gotten from Jos which places them at very high risk of also having the outbreak on their farms.

According to a poultry farmer in Gora area of Nasarawa state, the outbreak is coming at a time that farmers are already passing through very difficult times without any form of government assistance and hoping that government will compensate anyone who might be affected is like dreaming while you are still awake.

In an open memo to poultry farmers and other value chain operators by the Director General of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr Onallo Akpa, the association called on all farmers to sensitize their staff and put in place strict biosecurity measures for prevention and control of the spread of the disease.

‘In view of the devastating nature of the disease to the poultry industry with serious socioeconomic impact to the livelihood of farmers and other value chain operators, I call on farmers to put in place comprehensive biosecurity measures to curtail the outbreak of the disease and other diseases in the poultry industry’ LIVESTONEWS.

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