The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), have sensitised poultry farmers in Accra on the bird influenza (Bird Flu).
The farmers were taken through “Backyard Biosecurity” which is a simple three-step process that would help keep their birds and those of their neighbours free of the disease.
The three-step process is to look at early detection, report and protection.
Dr Kwadwo Obeng-Wiredu, Accra Metropolitan Veterinary Health Director of the Veterinary Service said many bird diseases are difficult to diagnose but it is important for farmers to know the signs that could help prevent the spread.
He said if the farmers know the signs such as sudden increase in bird deaths more than normal, sneezing and gasping for air or runny nose and swelling around the eyes, neck and head they should report immediately to the nearest veterinary office to prevent the spread of the diseases.
Dr Obeng-Wiredu said the disease could survive in birds for four days and death may occur within 24 hours of the signs, adding that purchased new birds could carry diseases that could spread quickly to other ones and suggested good management and improved bio-security.
He called on the farmers to restrict access to their birds, and disinfect their clothing, shoes, cages and equipment before going near their birds after visiting feed or pets shops.
He warned the farmers not to share lawn and garden equipment, tools, poultry supplies with their neighbours or other bird owners, adding: “If you must do that then disinfect them before using.”
The Veterinary Doctor said the surveillance would continue of the poultry and human population within 10 kilometres of the Avian Influenza outbreak in Ghana.
Dr Obeng-Wiredu said so far there has been reports of the disease in other farms in Accra but surveillance would continue until all of them are covered and asked the farmers to remain vigilant and quickly report to the authorities when they see signs.
He said discussions about compensation for farmers whose birds were destroyed have been approved and they would soon be paid.
He said in May, 2015 22,000 birds were destroyed in Tema while Denu in the Volta Region 3,600 were eliminated as a result of the early detection to prevent the spread of the disease.
Dr Obeng-Wiredu called for a robust collaboration of the public and farmers for “the activation of emergency plan, intensification of public health education, advocacy, awareness campaign on bird influenza prevention, and control measures” which he said must be encouraged.
Mr Maxwell Odonkor, Accra Metropolitan Director of MOFA said in June 19, nine cases were recorded, seven in the Greater Accra and two in the Volta Region, while in July 29, year four cases were recorded in the Greater Accra Region.
He said: “The disease is devastating our poultry industry hence the need to interact to know more about its signs and symptoms and expect the farmers to carry the message throughout Ghana.”