Avian influenza media kit

Information about Avain flu in Nigeria

Highlights

Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly called bird flu, is a serious disease affecting birds and in some cases human beings. There is a new strain of avian influenza called the H5N1 which is very infectious and has caused the death of millions of chickens and other birds around the world, with very high economic loss. It can also affect human beings and may result in death.

The bird flu virus is passed from one bird to another. This happens when birds come in contact with an infected bird or its droppings. Birds can also get the virus from water or places where infected birds have defecated. Since 2003, there has been an increasing number of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in many countries in Asia, particularly in China, Vietnam. Outbreaks have also been reported in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In Africa, eight (8) countries have reported cases of bird flu. They are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

While bird flu is primarily a disease of birds - from bird to bird, there have been reports of humans affected by the virus. As at 6 February, 2007, 272 human cases were reported in eleven countries with 166 deaths. Most of the affected people came from Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. Human cases have also been reported in three African countries - Egypt, Djibouti and Nigeria.

There is no evidence to date of sustained human-to-human transmission - like the ordinary flu. However, the world is concerned that H5N1 could adapt to, and become easily transmitted among humans. Once this adaptation occurs, it will no longer be a bird virus; it will become a human influenza virus, which could cause a pandemic.

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Author

Government of Nigeria, UNICEF Nigeria, WHO, UNFAO

Publication date

Languages

English

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