Nigeria heightens vigilance as US reports human case of Avian Influenza

In response to reports of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detected in humans in the United States (US)

Nigeria heightens vigilance as US reports human case of Avian Influenza

Nigeria heightens vigilance as US reports human case of Avian Influenza

In response to reports of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) detected in humans in the United States (US)

Nigeria has begun intensifying its vigilance measures to prevent the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus within its borders.

The move is in response to reports of the virus detected in humans in the United States (US).

According to a statement released by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on Monday, an individual in Texas tested positive for the HPAI virus after exposure to dairy cattle presumed to be infected with HPAI A (H5N1) viruses. 

The patient exhibited eye redness consistent with conjunctivitis as the sole symptom and is currently recovering.

While the overall human health risk assessment is deemed low by the CDC, individuals with close or prolonged, unprotected exposures to infected birds, animals, or contaminated environments are at higher risk of infection.

Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), expressed concern over the development, emphasizing increased vigilance to prevent a potential public health crisis. 

Adetifa stressed the importance of preparedness and readiness capacity in responding to emerging pathogens like the HPAI virus.

The HPAI virus is known to cause severe disease and high mortality rates in infected poultry, with mortality rates reaching up to 90 to 100 per cent in chickens within 48 hours. 

Nigeria, the first country in Africa to confirm the presence of bird flu in 2006, has a history of dealing with avian influenza outbreaks. 

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In 2021, the country experienced 467 outbreaks reported in 31 states, posing challenges to the poultry sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and global food insecurity.

Recall that the NCDC recently outlined crucial information on identifying meningitis symptoms for early intervention.

The NCDC urged Nigerians to be vigilant and recognize signs such as sudden high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion, and in some cases, a skin rash.