Hunger: Deltans Scramble For Cheap, Flu-Infected Birds

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

Some poor residents of Ughelli in Delta State are scrambling for cheap poultry birds which have been infected by Avian Influenza (bird flu) for meal.

This followed the outbreak of the flu in some parts of the state of recent.

As a result, affected poultry farmers had to flood the Ughelli market with both dying and dead birds for quick sales.

Stonix News reports that strains of the influenza virus primarily infect birds, but can also infect humans.

Stonix News gathered that some of the birds sell for as low as N1, 000 (for dead birds) and N1,500 for those very weak, but still brearhing.

The low price, according to some of the farmers, was the only option left to stave off total loss, having invested hugely in the business.

Given the ridiculously low price, poor Ughelli residents, especially low income earners, have seized the opportunity to stock their homes with the cheap birds.

They boil and dry them for preservation with no consideration for the health implications.

Reacting to the danger inherent in the consumption of flu-infected birds, an expert, Dr Hyacinth Uguru, said it was dangerous to humans.

The veterinary doctor stated that the viral disease was transmissible from the birds to humans.

“There has been no sustained human spread of the H5N1; however, direct or indirect contact with the infected live or dead birds can result in typical flu-like clinical manifestations such as high fever, cough, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and others, which can culminate in severe respiratory disease in humans,” he warned.

Uguru expressed fear that the outbreak could lead to a quantum of economic losses with far reaching impact such as unemployment, food insecurity, and a possible threat to public health.

He disclosed that many poultry farmers, in a bid to reduce morbidity, have resulted in disposing of their birds without considering the health implications on humanity.

Dr Uguru warned the public to avoid the consumption of such birds for their own safety.

For those who’d insist consuming the infected birds, the expert advised them to cook their chicken very well before consumption.

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