A Poultry expert, Mr Joel Oduware, has called for precautionary approach against the trigger and spread of Bird Flu disease closely linked to the harmattan season.
Oduware, an expert in poultry farming made this call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
The experts said the disease was seasonal and could be linked to arrival of migrating birds from the cold northern hemisphere of the world to our warmer region.
“The Bird Flu disease we witnessed in the poultry farming is usually seasonal, this harmattan season we are currently experiencing can trigger the disease because of migrating birds from all parts of the world.
“Most of these migrant birds are wild and are carriers of pathogenic Bird Flu, which we call Avian Influenza.
“They fly long distances and arrive this part of the country as they migrate if they come in contact with your farm, especially those that run breeder flock farms that produce hatchery eggs, it is dangerous.
“These old layers are more prone to this disease from the migrant birds. Layers and breeder birds are the major victims of these migrant birds that bring this disease into the country.
“So this is the time local poultry farmers should build the level of bio security in and around their farms to prevent the start and spread of Avian influenza in their farms,” the expert said.
Oduware also called for intense precautionary measures on the part of local poultry farmers to prevent the start and spread of the disease this season.
He advised farmers to be very careful in their practice of bio security in this season, the poultry farms should be well secured against any external body.
“Poultry farmers should be wary against these migrant birds, they should be prevented from accessing the farms to feed on bird feeds, or accessing their water troughs.
“The farmers also need to secure their farms by washing their farms with bio security disinfectants, the feed pans, drinking troughs and every farm utensil must be disinfected against this disease.
According to him, there should be regular general clean up and sanitisation of the poultry farm to prevent the start and spread of the disease on the farm.
“More of the breeder and layer farms need to take extra precaution from this bird flu attack of the migrant birds,” Oduware said.
The expert added that the features of bird flu disease were very common as he cautioned local poultry farmers against self-medication and vaccination of their birds.
“The flu has some clinical signs which include swollen chicken feet, rotten features, blunt eyes, swollen combs, weakness of the bird and eventual massive death of the birds.
“So we have to take precaution not to vaccinate birds at that time, bird flu is also contagious and dangerous to human health which in turn can lead to an epidemic and loss of lives in the long run.
“We have to be very careful vaccinating birds that look strange or have signs of bird flu disease as noted above.
“The farmer has to contact the nearest veterinary authorities or personnel around to attend to the birds, do not do it on your own as a lay man.
“Let proper diagnosis be done by biological analysis of the birds’ specimen in the laboratory before the commencement of treatment on the birds,” the expert noted.