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H5N1 strain confirmed in Togo
afrol News, 17 September - Laboratory tests in Togo have revealed a fresh outbreak of virulent H5N1 bird flu in western Africa state, government sources have said. A strain was detected after around 4,000 poultry died at a farm in Agbata outside capital, Lome.
"The results from Ghana confirm presence of the strain of the H5N1 virus that is responsible for bird flu," Agriculture and Livestock Minister Kossi Messan Ewovor said in a statement.
After outbreak, Togo, which reported several cases of H5N1 last year, has imposed a quarantine on the village.
It is reported in Togo that lab tests were carried out by experts in Ghana and Italy after a deadly outbreak was discovered last week.
Health Ministry said precautionary measures have been taken to contain the situation, without confirming magnitude of the strain in Togo.
The virus which is said to rarely infect people has killed 243 out of 385 known to have been infected since 2003, according to World Health Organisation, while it has also killed or forced slaughter of 300 million birds.
In August, Ghana called for urgent meeting with its West African neighbours to control avian flu amid reports of an outbreak of bird flu strain in some parts of Nigeria's remote provinces.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said strain of avian influenza recently found in Nigeria was genetically different from strains in previous African outbreaks in Nigeria in 2006 and 2007, though it could not confirm if it was H5N1 flu.
However, disease remains hard for humans to catch, with most cases linked to contact with infected birds. But scientists worry virus could mutate as a result of the continent's widespread poverty, lack of proper veterinary and medical facilities and huge unregulated farming sector, which could allow outbreaks to go unnoticed longer.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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