Nine ways to avoid bird flu

Poultry farm

The Federal Government on Friday alerted Nigerians to the outbreak of Avian Influenza or bird flu in the Federal Capital Territory and seven states of the country.

Gideon Mshelbwala, the Director of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, listed the states affected by the outbreak to include Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa, Plateau, FCT and Kaduna, which reported a case on May 30.

Premium Times has compiled some of the things people need to know to help prevent the spread and reduce the epidemic outbreak of the disease.

1. Avoid wild and domesticated birds, especially birds that appear ill or dead.

2. Cook poultry food thoroughly until the juice are clear with a minimum internal temperature of 74 degrees (165 F), heat kills avian viruses.

3. Wash your hands with alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 per cent alcohol especially after contact with poultry foods.
4. Avoid small rural area farms and open air market especially places where live poultry are raised, kept or sold.

5. Get influenza vaccine where available. A vaccine shot will help reduce the risk of simultaneous infection with bird and human flu viruses.

6. Steer clear of raw eggs, avoid food containing raw or under-cooked eggs because eggshells are often contaminated with bird droppings.

7. Avoid cross-contamination of utensils and surfaces which have come in contact with raw poultry or poultry droppings.

8. Avoid close contact with family members diagnosed or who have been or suspected to be exposed to avian influenza viruses.

9. Report health-related cases or any flu-like symptoms.

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