The United States and Nigeria Partner to Combat Bird Flu (March 23, 2015)

CGHawkins_03232015-largeThe United States Government through the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported a training workshop for veterinarians, laboratory technicians, and surveillance specialists on effective disease control techniques, in response to the current Avian Influenza outbreak in Nigeria.

The opening session of the workshop, which had over 160 participants drawn from the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Health and the poultry sector, was held on Monday, in Ibadan, Oyo State.

In his remarks at the event, the United States Consul General in Lagos, Jeffery Hawkins said, “The United States is bringing supplies and training as part of our contribution to fight bird flu; but we cannot do it alone.” He added, “The ability of Nigeria to quickly detect and respond to avian influenza will be enhanced by the partnerships, platforms, and knowledge built over the past decade.”

In addition to the training, USAID/Nigeria will contribute personal protective equipment, surveillance gear, and disinfectants to relevant authorities.

Bird flu is a viral disease that largely infects birds, but rarely infects humans.  In 2007, there was one human case in Nigeria.  However, there are no known human cases in Nigeria so far in the current outbreak.  Globally, the majority of human cases of infection are associated with contact with infected live or dead poultry. Controlling the disease in poultry is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.

Since 2006, the U.S. government, through USAID, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has contributed approximately $1,750,000 in response to the bird flu outbreak in Nigeria. USAID contributes $473 million a year to improve health and education, create jobs and improve public administration in Nigeria. USAID also has humanitarian programs providing emergency response in Nigeria’s northeast.