The Ebonyi Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on Monday at Ugwuachara in Abakaliki destroyed 1,500 birds, to prevent further spread of the Avian Influenza, popularly known as Bird Flu, to other farms in the state.
The state Commissioner, Mr Uchenna Orji, who made this known to newsmen, said that the ministry swung into action in order de-contaminate the affected farm.
“We have destroyed 1,500 birds and the feeds, to avoid further spread to other poultry farms.
“We went into action following the test results which revealed that the birds had been attacked by the Avian Influenza.’’
He said that the ministry had declared a state of emergency in the poultry industry, to alert members of the public and poultry farms owners to report cases of affected birds.
He added that the ministry would place surveillance on neighboring communities and poultry farms, to avoid any spread of the disease.
“Ebonyi is an agrarian state with crops, fish farming and poultry among others, and the ministry is alive to its duties, responsive and responsible to ensure that farmers in the state are protected from disease attacks.
“We shall mount further surveillance on other farms and maintain appropriate records and documentation.''
Also speaking, Mr Idiom Okoro, the state Director of Veterinary Services, said multiple death of the birds purchased from a neighbouring state during the yuletide raised suspicion of Bird Flu attack.
He urged poultry farmers to report cases of multiple deaths promptly and assured them of compensation by the Federal ministry of Agriculture. and Rural Development.
He identified some Bird Flu symptoms as respiratory problems, weakness and multiple deaths.
In her remark, Dr Rita Okoro, the Avian Influenza Control Project Desk officer in the state, said the destruction of the birds would go long way to help in checking the spread.
She complained that poultry farmers often denied the project access to their farms to check any possible outbreaks.
“We hope to be empowered to have access to poultry farms to be able to do our job; people have this misconception that we are trying to ruin their business.
“It is in their best interest to report outbreaks to stop further spread.”
She, therefore, advised poultry farmers to report to the relevant authorities suspected cases or symptoms for immediate action.