Ministry of Agriculture officials in the Nigerian state of Plateau are warning poultry producers to refrain from selling sick birds to desperate marketers who want to make quick gains. Instead, the ministry said, producers who suspect sick birds in their flocks should report them to veterinary officials.

The warning is being issued amid worries of avian influenza in Nigeria.

“Farmers must desist from selling their sick birds in order to avert further spread of the disease, because the more you take sick birds to the market within or outside the state, the further and quicker the disease spreads. Instead of just taking your birds to the markets, once you notice any funny behavior from your birds, report to the appropriate authority for necessary and proper actions to be taken, said Ministry of Agriculture representative Ayuba Haruna.


According to an AllAfrica report, Haruna also urged poultry farmers to report marketers that may be buying sick poultry.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza in January 2015 was discovered in Nigeria for the first time since the epidemic of 2006-2008. The virus has since spread to bordering Niger, which in April experienced its first confirmed case of H5N1 avian influenza since 2006. Other countries have been identified as being at risk, including Benin, Cameroon and Chad.