Poultry farmers schooled on bird flu control

Poultry farmers in Tema were on Tuesday sensitized on Avian Influenza (bird flu) control and containment as a means of preventing further outbreak of the disease.

The day’s forum organized by the Ghana Veterinary Service and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, was to educate veterinary officers, poultry farmers and feed milers among others on the need to ensure best practices on their farms to prevent bird flu.

The Accra Veterinary Laboratory and the Noguchi Institute of Medical Research in May this year confirmed two cases of Avian Influenza caused by the H5N1 virus in Tema and New Achimota, all in the Greater Accra Region.

Unlike previous years when farmers had a boost in the sale of poultry birds during the Christmas, there has been a drastic reduction in sales as a result of the outbreaks of the virus.

Speaking on biosecurity for prevention, control and containment of the highly pathogenic influenza, Mr Kenneth Komla Gbeddy, the acting Director of Veterinary Services, indicated that when viruses are detected during inspections on farms, birds and eggs are immediately destroyed and buried to prevent further spread.

He cautioned farmers on the need to adopt best-farm management practices including regular health checks, checking source of feed and water as well as the prevention of unauthorized movement of people and vehicles on farms.

These measures, he indicated, were crucial since failure to do so, had the tendency of causing disease outbreak on farms.

He said although biosecurity measures vary depending on the needs of a site, there were some basic measures common across settings, including wearing protective clothing, preventing domestic birds from mixing with wild ones and hygienic practices among others.

Cleanliness and disinfection as critical components of biosecurity, which should be carried out after a poultry building has been depopulated, before restocking to reduce the pathogens and the potential for disease outbreak, he said.

He mentioned good animal husbandry, maintenance and cleanliness of farms, restricted entry and movement in farms as some biosecurity practices to protect commercial farms from infection.

A participant and poultry farmer, Mr Isaac Abraham Nuno, who has been into commercial stocking of fowls for 35 years, in an interview with the GNA, said even though he has not had bird flu on his farm, recent reports in the media about the outbreak, has caused a drastic reduction in sales of his birds compared to previous years.

He added that because of the good practices he adheres to on his farms, no bird had died as from avian influenza and said regular cleaning and disinfection of farm houses and equipment was key to preventing bird flu

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