Some 1,500 birds are to be culled on an animal farm in Denu in the Ketu South Municipality as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) works around the clock to end the spread of bird flu in the Country.
Samples collected by the Regional Veterinary Team on July 14, tested positive for the virus and biosecurity protocols were immediately engaged.
Mr. Mohammed Hardy Turferu, a Deputy Minister of MOFA led a team to access the situation on Thursday, which settled on Killing and burying all birds on the farm.
Also to be destroyed are eggs and feed, in addition to hundreds of pigs and rabbits, and there are fears free-range birds might have carried the virus beyond the farm.
Dr Patrick Akandi, Regional Veterinary Officer, briefing the Minister, said a total of 129 birds had died before infected birds were culled, and this included 124 cockerels and five turkeys.
He said a further 376 cockerels, eight turkeys, and 124 local birds were killed And buried by his team in collaboration with the local Assembly, which had been disinfecting the farm since the outbreak was recorded.
The Veterinary Officer said human samples had also been collected for testing at the Noguchi Medical Research Centre.
The Deputy Minister said although a tough decision, destroying the total livestock had become inevitable, and commended ownership of the farm for the cooperation and wholesome sacrifice.
He assured of the Ministry’s firm hold of the situation, promised the highest possible endeavour at preventing further contagion, and also assured of the necessary compensation.
“The Ministry is very alive, very active and has taken the mantle,” Mr. Turferu said, affirming that the Ministry would be far-reaching in controlling the spread.
Dr. Danso Fenteng, National Head of Epidemiology, said killing and burying remained the only control measure for even the least infected farms as the possibility of animal to human transfer remained high.
He said it was more challenging to control outbreaks among local fowl populations, as they were farmed free range and were thus well exposed, adding that fencing must become a requirement on all farms, and further called for chlorine disinfectants to be made mandatory.
Foster Agbenyo, Manager of the farm, counting the loss, asked that the government considered the plight of dependent livelihoods and effect prompt compensation.
Mr. Eliot Edem Agbenormu, Ketu South District Chief Executive, said an Assembly level public health emergency meeting had been held, and that the needed measures including public education, were being implemented.
The Volta Region has some 300 poultry farms registered, with the largest holding some 30,000 birds.
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