By Stanley Onyekwere
Against the backdrop of reports of outbreak of Avian Bird Flu in some parts of the country, the Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Mrs. Olvadi Bema Madayi has advised poultry farmers and residents to be more observant and cautious in the handling of their birds.
Responding to questions from newsmen concerning the reported cases, she said the ARDS is in contact with the relevant stakeholders including poultry farmers and that no case has been recorded in the FCT so far.
According to her, the Secretariat is on high alert and is putting in place necessary measures to forestall possible occurrence of the disease in the FCT.
She noted that part of the emergency measures is the reactivation of the agric and rural development influenza control and response team for this emerging challenge.
She added that the Secretariat has equally embarked on an aggressive sensitization campaign to enlighten residents within the city centre and the area councils on detection, preventive and containment measures in the event of an outbreak.
“We have taken proactive measure by mobilizing and briefing all the veterinary health workers on the reported cases in three states.
“This is in addition to stocking our veterinary clinics in the 6 area councils of the FCT with adequate disinfectants, hand gloves and necessary drugs as may be required,” the ARDS boss stressed.
On other preventive measures, she advised poultry farmers to always ensure they use the appropriate protective equipment and careful attention to hand hygiene after contact with sick or dead poultry.
She listed some of the signs and symptoms to look out for in the birds to include: ruffled feathers, soft- shelled eggs, depression, drop in egg production loss of appetite, green diarrhea, swelling of the head, eyelids and comb inability to walk, nasal discharge and sudden death in large numbers.
Madayi therefore advised FCT residents particularly poultry owners to report any suspected cases to appropriate authorities.
Madayi further revealed that the Secretariat has some mobile phone numbers for residents and poultry farmers to call in the event of any suspected case.
“We equally advise farmers to frequently conduct disinfections and change outfits and shoes while working” she added