The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has reported an outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza disease, otherwise known as Bird Flu in some parts of the country.
It said the outbreak occurred in the Greater Accra, Central and Volta Regions.
In a statement on Friday, July 16, the ministry said the outbreak “follows the detection of similar cases in neighbouring countries since January 2021.”
“Through effective surveillance and disease control management the Veterinary Services Directorate has prevented the extension of the disease into Ghana until now,” the statement said.
It is not clear whether birds have been culled to contain the disease since the outbreak.
Raft of measures to prevent further spread
The ministry has since taken the following measures to prevent the disease from spreading further:
1. A total ban on the importation of Poultry and Poultry products from neighbouring countries where the prevalence of the disease has been confirmed.
2. A ban on the movement of Poultry and Poultry Products within and from the affected regions and districts to other parts of the country, and strict inspection and issuance of permits to cover the movement of all poultry and poultry products from unaffected parts of the country.
3. Intensification of public awareness and sensitization by Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies, especially in the affected areas.
To further ensure public safety, citizens are advised to report any unusual death of domestic poultry and wild birds to the nearest Veterinary office and public authorities.
The ministry further cautioned against the handling of dead birds with bare hands, and consume only well-cooked poultry meat and poultry products.
“The Ministry wishes to assure the general public that there is no cause for fear and panic since the Veterinary Services Directorate is taking all necessary steps to contain the outbreak and spread of the disease to other parts of the country. The success of this call hinges on the full cooperation of the general public,” the statement said.
“The zoonotic nature of the disease calls for public alert and vigilance to mitigate the possible impact on the poultry industry and public-health in general,” the ministry cautioned.
Ghana has up until now been spared of the bird flu, with previous cases seen in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2018, which had significant economic impact on affected poultry farmers.
Story by Sani Abdul-Rahman