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A Deadly Strain Of Bird Flu Is Found In Nigeria

The World Organization for Animal Health says a deadly strain of bird flu has been found in poultry in northern Nigeria. It says a team of experts found the H5N1bird flu virus, which can kill humans, on a farm in the northern state of Kaduna. More than 150,000 birds have died recently of what vets thought was Newcastle disease, a common ailment among birds in the region. The animal health group says this is the first time bird flu has been detected in Africa. Farmers in the northern town of Kano are talking about how to stop its spread.

Sumaila Abdullahi, Kaduna State’s commissioner for agriculture, told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje the discovery of the bird flu virus is a cause for concern, given the fact that Nigeria’s healthcare system does not have the capacity to “tame the disease at an early stage.” He says his country will deploy all available resources toward that end. But to ensure an effective campaign, he says Nigeria will require considerable international support.

Abdullahi says proper handling of the bird flu will be further complicated by “the size, complexities, terrain and environment in Nigeria.” He says “coupled with the high mobility of Nigerians throughout the continent, that will have major health implications for the rest of Africa.”