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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 16:25 GMT
Nigerian bird farmer warns of health risks
A Nigerian poultry farmer Auwalu Haruna, 45, from the state of Kano tells the BBC News website his fears following news that the deadly strain of bird flu has been found in the neighbouring northern state of Kaduna.

Chickens in a cage, Nigeria
Poultry in northern Nigeria were confirmed to be carrying the bird flu virus on Wednesday
As a poultry farmer you know when one of your birds is sick.

It will refuse to eat, it will not lay well.

You know that something is wrong.

I have been farming birds for 10 years now. I have a flock of about 15,000 chickens.

Signs

About 14 days ago the problems began.

Signs appeared on different farms - there was a general sickness among birds.

HAVE YOUR SAY
In my country we have lots of farms, I am very worried that this will spread
Fsiplene Mnarpe, Swaziland

First it was noticed among birds in Kaduna state. Then it started showing in our state, Kano.

At least 20 farmers here have been affected.

So far, more than 60,000 birds have died. Maybe now it is more than that, maybe 70,000 or even 80,000.

Analysis

The vets came as soon as we called them. They concluded that we have a problem.

Following local analysis and diagnosis they say that it is a form of cholera.

However samples have been sent to a laboratory in Italy for analysis.

QUICK GUIDE

I believe that they have been tested for avian flu and that the deadly strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus was detected in the samples that came from the infected farm in Kaduna.

I also understand that the ministry of agriculture has the report of the results and is looking into it.

Worried

I am lucky that it hasn't come to my farm - yet.

Nigeria map showing Kano and Kaduna states
Auwalu Haruna's poultry farm is in Kano state

Personally I am worried. I fear for my chickens.

But I also worry it starts causing sickness among people - then it will be very bad.

As farmers we are worried because we are in an area of the world where our government is very slow to respond.

Health hazard

In fact they can be irresponsible. We are not impressed - we are still waiting for the affected farms round here to be quarantined.

We deserve that action at least. The area deserves it. The nation deserves it.

What would happen in the UK if it was discovered there?

Dead chickens
Farmers in Auwalu's area have been killing their sick birds

Here, the farmers have been killing their sick birds.

The dead birds are being sent to market to be sold as meat.

It's a health hazard.

It is because people are not sure if the government will assist them, compensate them, and so as they cannot make money from selling the eggs anymore they are selling the chicken meat to make up their losses.

I think that there is a 70% chance that the government will not assist us.

If bird flu reaches my farm and if my chickens die I do not know how I will move forwards.

It will destroy my whole investment. I will not meet my financial responsibilities meaning economic failure.

I will fail my family.



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