Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Nigeria confirms first human bird flu death


Nigeria has recorded the first human death due to bird flu in sub-Saharan Africa, the government confirmed yesterday (31 January).

A 22-year old woman, who tested positive for the H5N1 virus, died suffering from flu symptoms in Lagos on 17 January, according to the Multi-Sectoral Steering Committee on Avian Influenza in Nigeria.

Another female member of the same household has also been diagnosed with the virus but is responding to treatment, said Abdulsalam Nasidi, chairman of the Nigeria Avian Influenza Control and Human Pandemic Preparedness Response Project.

Reuters news agency report that a total of four Nigerians are suspected to have died from the disease but the virus has only been confirmed in one case so far.

As demanded by international protocols, virus samples have been sent to the World Health Organization and the US-based Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, said Frank Nweke, Nigeria's minister of information and communication.

The government is strengthening surveillance efforts across the country with particular emphasis on monitoring human contact with poultry to prevent animal-to-human and human-to-human infections.

The surveillance system is also being extended to cover all health institutions, including private facilities. Measures being put in place include risk communication, emergency medical care and infection control measures.

The government has also prioritised training for staff working as laboratory technicians and those working in surveillance and clinical management.

Nasidi said research institutes are being urged to set up disease isolation centres, and the country had increased its stocks of the bird flu drug Tamiflu.

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.