Natural outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza disease were recorded in 19 farms in Bauchi State, Nigeria, between February and May, 2006. The disease was diagnosed by the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria and the Food and Agriculture Organisation Reference Laboratory
in Padova, Italy. Nine avian species of different ages and sexes involved in the outbreaks included
commercial and local chickens, ostriches, emus, guinea fowls, geese, pigeons, turkeys, ducks and crowned cranes. A total number of 176,426 birds were lost, which constituted about 1.5% of the total poultry population in the state. Of these, 67,058 (38%) died naturally of the disease, while 109,368 (62%) were destroyed in order to stamp out the disease. Clinical signs and post-mortem findings of the disease included cyanotic comb and wattles, dyspnoea, subcutaneous haemorrhages, regression and necrosis of ovaries. All blood samples obtained from personnel involved in the containment of the disease in the state and screened for H5N1 virus were negative. In conclusion, the potential risk of human infection by the virus in the state exists and the present outbreaks caused serious socio-economic damage, which adversely affected the livelihood of poultry farmers and the poultry business in the state.