The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has confirmed cases of Avian Influenza H5N1 (Bird flu) in seven Nigerian states including: Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger.
Chikwe Ihekweazu,the director general of the disease control organisation made the confirmation on Tuesday, in Abuja,while highlighting the epidemiological situation and response activities in the country.
Ihekweazu revered that as of March 24, 2021, the seven affected states reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases (H5N1) in various poultries, adding that the Rapid Response Team (RRT) from NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have been deployed to Bauchi, Kano and Plateau States to address the situation.
“A total of 83 human samples were received and 64 (87.7 per cent) samples were tested. Of the tested samples, seven (10.9 per cent) were positive for Flu A, six 85.7 per cent were subtype A/H5 while one 14.3 per cent was unsub-typable,” he noted.
According to him, of the 83 contacts reported, 27 contacts are from three Local Government Areas (LGAs); Nassarawa, Ungogo and Gwale in Kano State ,18 contacts from two LGAs ,Jos North and South in Plateau State; 19 contacts from two LGAs (Bauchi and Toro) in Bauchi State, and 19 contacts from three LGAs (Kaltungo, Yamaltu Deba and Gombe) in Gombe State.
The NCDC boss also divulged that official notification about the outbreak had been conveyed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as required by the International Health Regulations (IHR) while an official report had also been sent to the authorities at both federal level and the affected states.
He also confirmed that Avian influenza outbreak Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at level 1 has been activated in Plateau and Gombe States and seven confirmed samples shipped to the WHO Collaborating Centre (WHO-CC) in the United States for further characterisation.
Dwelling on the response activities, he said a second session of EOC had been conducted with review of outbreak situation, response Terms of Reference (TORs) and Incident Actions Plan (IAPs).
The NCDC boss further averred that sensitisation was carried out by the national and state RRT to farm owners, workers, Live Bird Market (LBM) associations and communities in the affected states, adding that biosecurity measures were extensively discussed for the benefit of the farmers and communities in the affected areas.
Avian Influenza, according to medical reports, are strains of the influenza virus that primarily infect birds and can be contracted by humans through contact with sick birds. It is also likely to be passed from person to person as It can be transmitted by coughs, sneezes and other airborne respiratory droplets.
Medical researchers find that symptoms begin within two to eight days. Some of the most prominent symptoms include; cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache and shortness of breath.