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Health News Thu, 21 Jun 2007

Third bird flu outbreak in poultry reported

Ho, June 21 - Ghana has recorded the third outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in Aflao, a town on the border with Togo, a senior official at the agriculture ministry said Thursday

Dr Ben Aniwa, the Volta Regional Veterinary Officer, has confirmed the presence of bird flu on a farm in Aflao and said 1,000 birds in the farm have been destroyed.

Dr Aniwa told the GNA that all birds in the vicinity of the farm were also destroyed, bird markets closed while the movement of poultry and poultry products stopped.

Mr Geoffrey Agbleze, Ketu District Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), said officers at the border have been directed to stop movement of birds in and out of the country. He said a massive public education campaign on the disease would be mounted with the assistance of the Information Services Department (ISD).

Mr Agbleze said the district taskforce on the disease would also take advantage of the District Cultural Festival of basic schools to send the message across to the communities through the pupils. Mr Victor Atsakpo, District Quarantine Officer, told the GNA that his office was collaborating with security agencies at entry points to check the flow of birds into and out of the area.

He said even before the detection of the bird flu at Aflao, trade in live birds across the border with Togo had been low as the Togolese border authorities were seizing and destroying all live birds being sent into Togo.

Mr Atsakpo said the existence of several illegal entry points into the country from Togo was a major challenge.

The first outbreak was reported in early May in the port city of Tema, near Accra. The second came three weeks later in Sunyani, 450 kilometres north of the capital.

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Source: GNA
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