The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said that Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States have confirmed human cases of Avian Influenza H5N1 also called “Bird flu.”

The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja, while providing highlights of the epidemiological situation and response activities in Nigeria.

NAN reports that Avian Influenza is a strain of the influenza virus that primarily infect birds, but can also infect humans.

This type of flu is most often contracted by contact with sick birds, and can also be passed from person to person. It spreads by airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes).

Symptoms begin within two to eight days and are like the common flu. Cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache and shortness of breath may occur.

Ihekweazu said as of March 24, 2021, the seven states reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases (H5N1) in poultries.

“Health National Rapid Response Team (RRT) from NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture were deployed to Bauchi, Kano and Plateau States.

“A total of 83 human samples were received and 64 (87.7 per cent) samples were tested. Of the tested samples, seven (10.9 per cent) were positive for Flu A, six 85.7 per cent were subtype A/H5 while one 14.3 per cent was unsub-typable,” he explained.

The NCDC boss said official notification about the outbreak had been conveyed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as required by the International Health Regulations (IHR).

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He added that an official report had also been sent to the authorities at both the Federal level and the affected states.

“Avian influenza outbreak Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at level 1 has been activated at national and in two states (Plateau and Gombe).

“Seven confirmed samples have been shipped to the WHO Collaborating Centre (WHO-CC) in the United States (US) for further characterisation,” he noted.

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