MINISTRY OF HEALTH
P O BOX MB-44
12th June, 2015
PRESS RELEASE IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BIRD FLU SITUATION IN GHANA
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 was prepared.
There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza in other African countries Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger and Ivory Coast within the past two months. For the past one month, there has been an increase in the mortality of birds particularly in 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 in Noguchi 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 Influenza type A H5N1 was later received from the International Reference laboratory in Italy. Thus Ghana is declared as having a Bird Flu Outbreak. It is important to note that the current bird flu threat to humans remains very low. However, 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 biosecurity and to ensure that people do not unnecessarily enter their farms.
The National Technical Coordinating Committee (NTCC) will continue to organize more education and publicity programmes so the public remains well informed about prevention measures to keep bird flu disease out of their farms and homes.
The public should remain calm. The situation is being technically and expertly handled by the NTCC. At this stage, the public is assured that it is still quite safe to eat chicken and want to reiterate the following messages:
1. Do not touch or handle any sick or dead birds with your bare hands.
2. Report the death of any bird to the nearest local veterinary or agricultural officer. In case you touch any birds wash your hands immediately and thoroughly with soap and water.
3. Do not dress or eat any sick or dead birds.
4. Cook poultry products (chicken, turkey, duck, eggs, etc.) properly (above 70 oC) before eating as is the cultural norm in Ghana.
What are the signs of bird flu in birds?
Birds show the following signs when affected by bird flu:
• Sudden and unexplained deaths in large numbers
• Ruffled feathers (rough and stiff looking feathers)
• Saliva pouring out of the mouth of the bird in an unusual way
• Watery droppings (feces) that makes the tail wet
• Opening beak (mouth) and closed eyes
• Very dull, droopy wings, weak and cannot eat.
• Stop feeding and if they are layers, sudden drop in egg production
• Deformed, soft shelled eggs are laid by these birds.
Remember that poultry is still safe for consumption. Cook your meat and eggs very well (above 70 oC) before eating. If you find any sick or dead birds you can contact your local vet or agricultural officer. For further information please contact the Director of Veterinary Services/ Head of Public Health (VSD) on 0244289782 or Director of Public Health (GHS), 0244417911.