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Cablegate: Nigeria Avian Flu Update for June 30

VZCZCXRO6239
PP RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1680/01 1811434
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301434Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6338
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHFMISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 0014
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ASD-HD//
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001680

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

USDA FOR FAS/OA, FAS/DLP, FAS/ICD AND FAS/ITP
USDA FOR APHIS
USDA FOR WAYNE MOLSTAD/OSEC
USAID/W FOR AFR/WA ANGELA LOZANO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU EAID AMED EAGR NI AVIANFLU
SUBJECT: NIGERIA AVIAN FLU UPDATE FOR JUNE 30

REF: ABUJA 1608

ABUJA 00001680 001.2 OF 002

1. Summary. Economic officer attended on June 27 the
foreign donors meeting on AI in Nigeria. The FAO reported
new outbreaks in Taraba State and Lagos State. Recent
outbreaks of African swine fever occurred in Benue State.
The concern is that pigs could act as a vector for humans
for highly pathogenic avian influenza. As of May 30,
Nigerian farmers lost about 704,107 poultry birds, of which
288,662 died of AI and the remainder were culled. The need
continues for prompt compensation, effective action by the
states, and better AI human and animal surveillance. The
UN/Abuja will approach President Obasanjo to seek improved
cooperation between the Ministries of Health and
Agriculture. End summary.

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AI outbreak in Taraba State
---------------------------

2. Economic officer attended on June 27 the UN/foreign
donors meeting on the avian influenza (AI) in Nigeria. The
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported a
confirmed outbreak of AI in Taraba State, on Nigeria's
eastern border with Cameroon. This involved 74 households
in a total of four villages in the Ibi Local Government Area
(LGA), as well as 983 birds, all of which were culled. The
virus may have spread to the nearby Wukuri LGA, from which
samples have been sent to the Vom National Veterinary
Research Institute (NVRI). The outbreak affected small,
backyard poultry farmers who expressed "very stiff"
displeasure over efforts to kill their birds. Male
villagers wanted to attack the cullers but in the end did
not. Villagers acted on their fear of receiving no
compensation for their poultry. Some killed apparently ill
birds, cooked them three times, then ate them. Others
quickly sold sick birds for 60 naira apiece - compared to
the 250 naira per bird they would receive, if compensated.

Outbreak in Lagos State
-----------------------

3. AI broke out on about June 12 on a cooperative farm in
the Ojo LGA of Lagos State. Altogether, 27,362 chickens and
60 turkeys were culled; these belonged to 70 of the 140
cooperative farmers. An informant called the Ministry of
Agriculture on June 12 and reported his suspicion of AI at
the farm. A state field team then visited but found
nothing. On June 14, following the informant's second call,
a field team again visited the farm and found nothing
suspicious but sent poultry samples to the NVRI. An FAO
official said he suspected the cooperative farmers concealed
evidence of AI. The NVRI confirmed AI only on about June
23, which an FAO official termed a "worrisome delay."
Ministry of Health officials went to Taraba and Lagos States
and took a very small number of human samples, all of which
tested negative for AI.

African Swine Fever in Benue
----------------------------

4. The FAO reported recent outbreaks of African swine fever
(ASF) in Benue State - where about two-thirds of more than
70 pigs belonging to one farmer died. (Note: The FAO's Web
site calls ASF a "highly contagious viral disease" of
domestic pigs resulting in up to 100% mortality, and warns
of ASF's "catastrophic effect" on pig producers.) Benue
State is historically a large pork producer. UN officials
expressed concern over pigs' possibly acting as a vector to
humans for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The
FAO is asking the NVRI to test samples of affected pigs to
confirm the virus in Benue is ASF and not HPAI. There is no
compensation for pigs in Nigeria.

Continuing concerns over GON inaction
-------------------------------------

5. The FAO reported that as of May 30, Nigerian farmers lost

ABUJA 00001680 002.2 OF 002


about 704,107 poultry birds, of which 288,662 died of AI and
the remainder were culled. The Government of Nigeria (GON)
reported June 14 it had paid 34,409,130 naira (about
$269,000) in compensation for 414,403 culled birds, and that
payments of 36,409,130 naira for 123,206 birds were pending.
The FAO said poultry farmers are "very frustrated" by the
delay in receiving compensation, so donors must emphasize to
the GON the highly negative effects of the lack of a prompt
compensation system, as well as the need for better, faster
human and animal surveillance.

6. A senior UN official said the UN/Abuja must tell the GON
there is a need not only for compensation but timely
payments. The states must move toward accepting their
responsibilities. AI in Nigeria is not finished, and there
is reason for "great concern" if the affected pigs in Benue
have HPAI. There remains a great need for an effective
public-information campaign on AI. The UN agencies
therefore will approach Nigerian President Obasanjo with a
"quiet word" to seek improved cooperation against AI between
the Ministries of Health and Agriculture.
FUREY

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