Dr Augustus Ayitey, Acting Director of the Veterinary Services Directorate on Wednesday assured Ghanaians that it is safe to consume poultry and poultry products despite the bird flu scare.He said the bird flu, which hit the country since May, is still under control.He said so far 36 outbreaks of the disease have been recorded with the Greater Accra Region leading with 31 outbreaks, followed by Volta Region two, Ashanti Western Central regions recording one outbreak each.Dr Ayitey said this at a public education and awareness creation forum for poultry farmers in the Ga South District in Weija in the Greater Accra Region.The forum was part of a series embarked on by the Veterinary Services Department to sensitise farmers on the current situation of the disease and what is expected of them to help stop its spread and stamp it out.
Other activities to educate the public and the poultry farmers include; radio, television talk shows, printing and distribution of posters and flyers. Dr Ayitey said Ghana experienced the disease in 2006 and 2007 but with concerted efforts it was controlled; and commended the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and World Bank for the support.He said government has since supported the fight against the outbreak with GH¢11million, and appealed to stakeholders to cooperate with Veterinary Services officials for the effective control of the disease.Dr Paul Polkuu, National Epidemiologist, said the disease entered the country through Tema and since then Veterinary officials have implemented the internationally accepted measures called ‘stamping out’ to control the virus, indicating that presently 75,000 birds have been destroyed.
Dr Polkuu noted that though human beings could be infected with the disease there has not been any reported case of any such occurrence.He said the first batch of farmers whose poultry were destroyed was compensated and the Directorate is currently compiling the list of the second batch for compensation.Dr Anthony Akunzule, a Veterinary Doctor told the farmers that vaccination is used to stop the flu from spreading.He said 98 per cent of poultry diseases are due to management failure.He urged them to stick to biosecurity measures by wearing protective clothes, preventing domestic flocks from mixing with wild birds, restricting the movement of animals, manure, eggs, equipment and people between farms and markets. Dr Alice Attah, Director of Accra Metro Veterinary office WHO Chaired the programme urged farmers to make sure they report early to the nearest Veterinary services when they see signs of bird flu.