H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at a layer farm in Maradi, Niger, according to a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The confirmation marks the first occurrence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in the country since June 2006.
OIE stated that there were 2,440 susceptible laying hens and breeding parents at the farm. Of those 2,290 birds died.
Tests conducted at OIE’s reference laboratory in Padua, Italy, came back positive for the virus.
Control measures included movement control, screening, zoning, quarantine, stamping out, control of wildlife reservoirs and disinfection of the infected premises.
The source of the outbreak has not yet been determined. However, the farm is near the border of Nigeria, a country which has also been dealing with outbreaks of avian influenza. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had stated that traditional trading patterns, both formal and informal, between Nigeria and its neighbors, provide an opportunity for cross-border or inter-regional disease spread.
FAO identified Niger as one of the countries at risk, as well as Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, the Niger and Togo. Other countries were also said to be at risk, and the FAO has advised that they should prepare for disease incursions.