Published Date: 2006-02-11 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza - worldwide (10): Nigeria, Greece, Italy
Archive Number: 20060211.0461
AVIAN INFLUENZA - WORLDWIDE (10): NIGERIA, GREECE, ITALY
A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: All Africa, 11 Feb 2006 [edited]
An outbreak of the dreaded Avian influenza, popularly called bird
flu, might have hit the Lagos metropolis, with some chicken traders
reporting that some of their chickens have died mysteriously.
The federal government, on Wednesday [8 Feb 2006] announced the
outbreak of the deadly disease at Sambawa Farms in Jaji Village, Kaduna State.
Our correspondent, who visited some markets in the state and spoke
with traders, revealed that their chickens have been dying
mysteriously. A trader at the Ogba retail market said she discovered
that 3 of her chickens died without any cause. 2 other traders in the
market told our correspondent that there have been mysterious deaths
of their chickens in the last 2 weeks.
Investigations revealed that no fewer than 200 birds have so far died
in Lagos state markets in the last few days, with the highest
recorded only last Monday [6 Feb 2006], when about 70 birds were
reported to have died in Ojuwoye market in the Mushin area of the state.
Daily Trust learnt that the traders might have decided not to make
any official report because of fears that their wares might be seized
by officials of the state's ministry of health.
Meanwhile, residents of the state have spoken of their intention to
stop eating chicken and eggs for now until the possible danger posed
by the dreaded bird flu in the country clears.
A housewife said that, with the confirmed outbreak of the disease,
she must change the regular food timetable of her household until
Investigations in major markets in the state revealed that the elite,
who are major [consumers of] chicken have completely boycotted the
product for fear of contracting the bird flu.
Reacting to the spread of the disease, Lagos State House of Assembly
has urged the federal government to step up efforts to combat the
spread of bird flu to other areas, especially Lagos.
The resolution of the House follows the adoption of the motion moved
by Mr. Musliu Folami (Ibeju Lekki II) asking the federal government
to ensure the [health] of chickens and fowls imported into the
country before they get to private homes. Members who spoke on the
matter agreed that bird flu is a deadly disease that must not be
allowed to spread.
International experts arrived in 3 Nigerian states hit by the deadly
H5N1 bird flu virus yesterday as authorities tried to persuade people
to avoid contact with sick birds.
Thousands of chickens have died in northern Nigeria over the past few
weeks and the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health [OIE]
confirmed on Wednesday that the deadly H5N1 strain has arrived Africa
for the first time.
"(U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) inspectors are
already in Kaduna, Kano and Jos," said an official of the World
Health Organization (WHO) in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. "They want
to trace people who have had contacts with sick chickens and send out
simple messages that there should be no human-bird contact," she added.
Meanwhile, NEMA in a press statement signed by its information
officer, Malam Ibrahim Farinloye, advised Nigerians not to panic over
the recent outbreak of bird flu in Zaria and Jaji in Kaduna State,
pointing out that the risk to humans is low.
He explained that there has been no [report of] human infection in
the country so far, adding that, "eating well-cooked poultry meat has
never been reported to pose any danger to humans and as such, there
is no cause for alarm."
Ibrahim who said NEMA and military officials supervised the
destruction of the birds at Sambawa Farms and its closure, said
symptoms that could occur in infected persons include fever, cough,
sore throat and muscle aches, eye infections, pneumonia and acute
The Sambawa farms officially under quarantine are now a no-go area
for the public and the farm officials, until further notice. All the
international and local media who thronged the farm yesterday were
met by armed military and police personnel, who politely turned them away.
[Byline: Olumide Bajulaiye]
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Source: Reuters Alertnet, 11 Feb 2006 [edited]
Greece and Italy said on Saturday they had found swans with the H5N1
bird flu virus, the 1st known cases in the European Union of wild
birds with the deadly strain of the disease.
As the slow creep of the virus around the globe continues, Romania
said more infections were suspected in birds in the Danube delta, and
Bulgaria said the lethal strain had been confirmed among swans in
wetlands close to the Romanian border. The region is a haven and
transit point for migrating birds.
Nigeria started testing people who have fallen ill close to where the
virus has been found among birds, in the 1st outbreak in Africa of a
disease that has spread seemingly inexorably across the Eurasian
landmass from China and Vietnam.
Finance ministers of the Group of Eight (G8), meeting in Moscow
discussed the risk of a worldwide pandemic and issued a new call for
wealthy countries to help poor ones fight bird flu.
"We acknowledge the risk of a possible avian flu pandemic and its
potential economic and financial impacts," they said.
Italy said 5 wild swans found in the southern island of Sicily and on
the southern mainland had tested positive for the highly pathogenic
version of the H5N1 strain.
"It is certain that the virus has arrived in Italy," Health Minister
Francesco Storace said.
Transport of animals susceptible to the virus would be banned in the
3 regions, Storace added. No bird flu had been found in farm or
domestic birds and there was no need to fear a risk to human health.
"I don't think we in Italy are in the habit of cooking swans and
eating them," he said.
A regional health official in Sicily said the swans were believed to
have migrated from Russia.
A spokesman for the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO) said it was confident Italy was ready to deal with the outbreak.
"In most of western Europe there are very effective veterinary
services, and the poultry industry is of an advanced sort, not the
'backyard' sort, so the likelihood of there being a danger to the
human population is very much less than, say, in Africa," he said.
3 swans found around the Thermaikos Gulf and sent by Greece to the EU
lab in Britain tested positive for the deadly strain. A sample from a
wild goose on the island of Skyros in the Aegean has also been sent to Britain.
"This is the deadly, aggressive strain of the virus," Deputy
Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kontos told Reuters. "The swans were
probably flying to Africa because of the cold snap in central Europe."
Preventive measures include isolating poultry and keeping flocks
indoors, banning hunting, disinfecting farms and a ban on meat or
eggs from the areas.
The new Bulgarian infections were also among wild swans. Angel
Kunchev, head of the health ministry's epidemic control unit, said he
expected samples from other swans found dead around the country since
31 Jan 2006 also to test positive.
Bulgarian police planned to shoot wild dogs and foxes which might
spread around the remains of infected birds.
The only previous proven case of bird flu on EU territory was in
Britain, in a parrot imported from South America.
David Nabarro, who heads the U.N. drive to contain the virus, said
this week there was no evidence it had done so [referring to what?],
but added: "It's not far away."
A senior scientist at the WHO offered a glimmer of hope, saying on
Friday that a limited number of migratory birds appeared to be
spreading only a single sub-strain of the virus.
"It could reduce the mutation level ... you are less likely to have
widespread mutation than if you had 20 strains hop-scotching across
Asia," said Michael Perdue, an epidemiologist in WHO's global
Genetic sequencing of the virus found in chickens in northern
Nigeria, completed late on Friday, showed it also closely matched
that in poultry outbreaks in Turkey and China.
Nigeria was trying on Saturday to discover whether people who had
fallen ill in the area had caught the disease, and farmers culled
thousands more chickens.
Angola, Mali and Guinea joined other African nations in banning
poultry and egg imports from Nigeria.
"Surveillance and response of H5N1 in both animals and humans needs
to be strengthened in all regions bordering countries where outbreaks
have been identified," a WHO spokesman said on Saturday.
[Byline: Robin Pomeroy and Valentina Consiglio]
[The following abridged information has been kindly translated by Dr
Nati Elkin from the Italian daily La Repubblica of 11 Feb 2006 (see
"A total of 21 wild swans have been found affected by avian influenza
in Italy. 20 of them died. According to the laboratory results
obtained from the reference center in Padua, in 5 of the cases the
causative virus has been identified as HPAI H5N1: one from Taranto
province (in Puglia), one from Vibo Valentia (Calabria) and 3 from
Sicily (between Messina and Catania). Official notification from the
veterinary services will enable the verification of the said data and
a clearer overview of the situation."
[ProMED-mail would like to thank Pablo Nart <pablo12@hotPOP.com> and
Joe Dudley <email@example.com> for submitting similar information. - Mod.MPP]