Ministry urges calm as Committee works to control Bird Flu


Accra, June 12, GNA – The Ministry of Health has asked Ghanaians to remain calm as the National Technical Coordinating Committee (NTCC) works to bring the outbreak of the bird flu diseases under control.

‘The public should remain calm. The situation is being technically and expertly handled by the NTCC,’ a statement from the Ministry said.

For the past one month, there has been an increase in the mortality of birds particularly in the Greater Accra Region.

On 12th May this year, the Veterinary Services Directorate laboratory, diagnosed Influenza Type A in a dead bird which was further confirmed at the Noguchi Memorial Institute as H5N1.

Following these preliminary results a number of interventions have been instituted by the Veterinary Service Directorate and the Ministry of Health in anticipation of the final results.

A further confirmatory result as the Influenza type A H5N1 was later received from the International Reference laboratory in Italy. Thus Ghana has been declared as having a Bird Flu Outbreak.

The statement said although the current bird flu threat to humans remains very low, a screening of the people on the affected farm is being conducted as a precaution.

‘All poultry farmers have been alerted to increase their levels of bio-security and to ensure that people do not unnecessarily enter their farms,’ it said.

The statement said the NTCC would continue to organize more education and publicity programmes to educate the public about prevention measures to keep the bird flu disease out of their farms and homes.

At this stage, the public is assured that it is still quite safe to eat chicken, the statement said, adding that, it was not advisable for the public to touch or handle any sick or dead birds with bare hands.

The public must also report the death of any bird to the nearest local veterinary or agricultural officer whilst desisting from dressing and eating sick or dead birds.

In addition, poultry products (chicken, turkey, duck, eggs,) must be cooked properly (above 70 degrees Celcius) before eating, as is the cultural norm in Ghana.

The statement asked the public to contact the local vet or agricultural officer if they find any sick or dead birds.

For further information please contact the Director of Veterinary Services/ Head of Public Health (VSD) on 0244289782 or Director of Public Health (GHS), 0244417911.

Since the year 2003, when outbreaks of the bird flu diseases (Avian influenza) were reported in South-East Asia, Ghana has continued to monitor the global situation. In Ghana, intensive efforts have been put into the surveillance of the disease and a national response has been prepared.

There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza in other African countries including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger and Ivory Coast within the past two months.

GNA


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