Bird Flu Spreads to Nigeria Forcing Government to Cull Flocks

Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello said all birds at any farm where suspicious deaths have occurred would be culled. This is the first confirmed case of H5N1 bird flu in Africa, and experts fear it could spread rapidly.

Officials are investigating whether the deaths of thousands of chickens in two neighboring states were also caused by bird flu. International experts are heading for Kaduna, as well as the northern state of Kano and the state of Jos, to the south, where the other deaths took place.

Chickens started dying in the area four weeks ago, raising fears that bird flu could have spread across Nigeria and to neighboring countries, before it was confirmed on Wednesday, reported local correspondents.

Quarantines and other restrictions have recently been imposed on farms near where the chickens have died. Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed his fear that the virus "might be quite widespread."

"If it's in Nigeria it might also be in other countries that are less well-equipped," he told BBC.

Nabarro said governments and ordinary people would have to take "very, very strong precautions" to protect themselves and stop the disease spreading.


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