A total of 99,744 birds have been infested by the Avian Influenza H5N1 (Bird flu) in parts of the Central Region in the last seven months, Dr Helena Acquah, the Regional Veterinary Officer has confirmed.
Of the total, 78,997 were killed, 20,747 died naturally while 450 crates of eggs and 151 bags of feeds were also destroyed.
Dr Acquah told the Ghana News Agency that Gomoa West, Awutu Senya East, Awutu Senya and Gomoa Central Districts were the hard-hit areas.
Nationally, a total of 701,955-bird mortality has been recorded by the Veterinary Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Of the said number, 555,227 birds had to be destroyed as part of containment measures by the Ministry, while the remaining 143,406 deaths were as a result of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) infections.
Dr Acquah blamed the high mortality on poor bio-security – preventive measures taken to protect birds from harmful biological agents like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
She said the affected farmers did not have functional foot baths coupled with poor general hygiene ethics.
“Poultry farmers are entreated to intensify bio-security measures at their farms and report in case of a suspected case to the nearest veterinary office”.
“Farmers must draw boundaries for visitors on farms, limit visitations to other poultry farms, practice sound rodent and pest control programmes, avoid contact with non- commercial poultry or wild birds, and undertake daily inspection of flocks among others,” she said.
Additionally, they should avoid the movement of poultry and poultry products within and from the affected districts to other parts of the country.
Such strict enforcement and adherence to biosecurity measures, she noted, would drastically prevent the outbreak of the rampaging Avian Influenza, protect farmers’ investments, and effectively sustain the poultry industry.
However, she denied rumours that her outfit had refused to pay affected farmers sums of compensation as announced by Government.
“We want to reassure all affected farmers that we are not keeping anyone’s money. As and when we get it, the beneficiary farmers would benefit from what is due them,” she noted.