Togo confirms its first H5N1 outbreak

Jun 22, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – An official in the west African country of Togo confirmed today that poultry have tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus, raising the number of African nations hit by the virus to 10.

Yves Nagou, Togo's agriculture minister, said the results were confirmed at a lab in Accra, the capital of neighboring Ghana, Reuters reported today. Preliminary tests in Togo had already pointed to H5N1, he said.

The outbreak occurred at a semi-industrial farm at Sigbehoue, about 28 miles east of the capital, Lome, the Reuters report said. The farm, which is near the Benin border, received a shipment of chicks in February from Ghana, which in early May reported H5N1 for the first time, Nagou told Reuters.

About 2,000 chickens in a flock of 3,000 died over a 2-day span, Reuters reported. Officials responded by sealing off the farm and culling and incinerating the remaining chickens.

Global health officials have often expressed concern about the spread of the H5N1 virus in Africa because many countries have poor veterinary and public health services.

The nine other African countries that have reported H5N1 outbreaks in birds are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan. Human cases have occurred in Egypt (36), Djibouti (1), and Nigeria (1).

See also:

Jun 21 CIDRAP News article "Animal health experts fear loss of interest in avian flu"

May 31 avian flu situation update by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

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