- The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that can infect and kill humans is spreading in Burkina Faso with new cases confirmed in the capital Ouagadougou and second city Bobo-Dioulasso, according to the government.
The Minister for Animal Resources, Tiemoko Konaté, said on Friday that "157 samples were collected and sent to laboratories in the UK for testing ... those results just back today confirmed the presence of H5N1."
Some of the samples came from the central capital Ouagadougou, the south-western trade centre of Bobo-Dioulassao, and Sabou in the province of Boulkeimde in western Burkina Faso, said Minister Konaté.
He added that most of the afflicted birds belong to backyard poultry farmers. Keeping chickens and other poultry for eggs and meat is an important source of extra income and of food for many poor families in Burkina Faso, where bird flu was first confirmed on 3 April.
"If we don't act to eradicate this evil as quickly as possible, we will be living with it for a long time," said Mr Konaté.
West African regional giant Nigeria was the first African country to uncover the disease that had ravaged Asian bird stocks. Regionally, it has also been confirmed in Niger, which shares a border with Nigeria and Burkina Faso, as well as in Cameroon and in Côte d'Ivoire.
The Burkinabe government's bird flu eradication programme comes with a US$ 10 million price tag, a substantial sum for a country that ranks as the third poorest in the world, according to the UN.
And the Ouagadougou government is struggling to muster the cash, even with contributions from China and technical assistance from former colonial power France, said Marcel Nagalo head of the government's national plan to tackle bird flu.
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