Home News ‘Nigeria loses N4.5bn annually to Newcastle disease’

‘Nigeria loses N4.5bn annually to Newcastle disease’

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) revealed that annually, Nigeria loses N4.5 billion Newcastle disease due to a lack of adequate veterinary services.

President of the NVMA, Dr Moses Arokoyo, who made this known in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that the disease is highly contagious in poultry birds and is caused by paramyxovirus.

According to the United Kingdom Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Newcastle disease is a highly infectious disease affecting poultry and other birds.

It noted that the disease is caused by virulent strains of ND virus and can produce variable clinical signs in affected birds, causing high mortality, particularly in young birds.

“The disease can present in acute form ranging to mild or subclinical disease. The signs depend on which body system the strain of the virus predominantly affects (the respiratory, digestive, or nervous system) and can have a sudden onset and high mortality.

“Signs include quietness, depression, drops in feed/water intake, and for birds laying eggs, a high proportion of eggs laid will have abnormal (soft) shells.

“There may also be respiratory distress such as gasping, coughing, sneezing, gurgling and rattling, yellowish green diarrhoea or nervous signs such as tremors, incoordination, twisted necks, drooping wings and paralysis,” it added.

Dr Arokoyo added that birds affected by this disease are mainly chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, guinea fowl, and other wild and captive birds such as ostriches, emus and rhea.

He noted that such a huge number of losses recorded due to the disease would have been channelled to productive ventures or developmental projects if adequate veterinary services were extended to the rural areas.

The NVMA president said veterinary doctors are important in reducing the country’s animal disease burden, lamenting that poor attention given to the profession is a major reason huge amounts are lost to preventable animal diseases annually.

Arokoyo noted that the nation presently has a ratio of one veterinarian to 3, 000 or 4000 animals, describing it as grossly inadequate to address the nation’s disease burden as well as nutrition security.

He said 75 per cent of emerging and re-emerging diseases are from animals, insisting that the country will continue to have an escalation of zoonotic disease failure until it employs and deploys a large number of veterinarians to remote parts of the country.

“If we want to address the problem and ensure food security as President Bola Tinubu has declared an emergency on food security, then we need to change the status quo.

“We need to employ more veterinarians, build capacity and empower the veterinarians to do the needful to secure our food and protein source,” he advised.

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