Claim: Coronavirus has been found in broiler chicken

Source: Facebook user-Jits Scenic

Verdict: False

Researched by Rabiu Alhassan

“We don’t have formal evidence. It is a new virus and the hypothesis is that it came from animals and mainly bats. It was found in another wild animal but so far there is no reference to chicken. We don’t have such information even from China or any other place,” said Dr Michel Yao, Emergency Operations Programme Manager, WHO’s Regional Office for Africa in an interview with GhanaFact.

This was in reaction to a claim that “Carona virus has been found in broiler chicken” which is being widely shared on Facebook, with screenshots popping up in WhatsApp groups in Ghana. 

Facebook user- Jits Scenic made the claim on February 5 and admonished people not to eat broiler chicken. The post has since been shared more than 1,000 times.

China confirms bird flu outbreak amid coronavirus spread

Meanwhile, China has reported an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in Hunan province, which lies on the southern border of Hubei province, the epicentre of the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

“The outbreak occurred in a farm in the Shuangqing district of Shaoyang City. The farm has 7,850 chickens, and 4,500 of the chickens have died from the contagion. Local authorities have culled 17,828 poultry after the outbreak,” according to a February 1 statement by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

“We have many things going on on social media and people should be careful. It is a totally different virus.” Dr Michel Yao dismissed any connection between the avian influenza virus [bird flu] and the coronavirus.

No case of coronavirus in Ghana

According to the Ghana Health Service, forty-one(41) suspected cases of coronavirus in Ghana have all tested negative.

The Ghanaian government has committed ¢2.5 million to support the activities of the National Coordinating Sectoral Committee leading the implementation of the prevention plan against coronavirus.

However, the Ghana coalition of NGOs in Health says the amount committed to the fight against the deadly Coronavirus is not enough.

This comes after a report from the WHO shared similar concerns about inadequate funding and stated that even though the country has capacity in-country to test for COVID-19 disease (Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research) its readiness status is largely moderate.