Fears of Africa flu spread

The virus has probably been killing poultry for weeks, but migratory birds are likely not to blame

Stephen Pincock
Feb 13, 2006
The outbreak of avian influenza in Nigeria that emerged last Wednesday (February 8) has probably been simmering for weeks without being detected, increasing the risk the disease has spread to neighboring countries, according to a senior scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, experts say they don't believe that migratory birds brought the virus to Africa.Nigerian authorities notified the World Organization for Animal Health about the outbreak last Monday after tens of thousands of chickens in battery cages died in the northern state of Kaduna. It was confirmed as H5N1 on Wednesday, and in following days, officials reported worrying outbreaks in two neighboring states. This week (February 13), the country's health minister Eyitayo Lambo reportedly said that officials were examining suspected H5N1 cases in a further 5 states. If confirmed this would mean that 8 of Nigeria's 36 states were affected. The expanding crisis comes amidst concerns...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?