Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Avian Influenza H5N1 Outbreak in Afghanistan - FAO press release

Press Release - Kabul, 26 Feb 2007 - (FAO) In response to concerns about the possibility of re-introduction of H5N1 due to outbreaks in Pakistan, government veterinarians and FAO field workers have intensified surveillance, actively seeking cases of unusual mortality in poultry and taking appropriate samples.  Samples from such situations have been received from Behsod, Dara-e-Noor, Mohmand Dara, and Shewa districts and Jalalabad City (Nangarhar) and from Sawki district (Kunar). 

H5N1 was confirmed in the FAO and Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU3) supported laboratory in the Central Veterinary Diagnostic and Research Laboratories (CVDRL) from samples from Nohea 4, Jalalabad City, of Nangarhar Province on 20th February 2007 and from Sawki district of Kunar Province on 24th February 2007. Positive samples were collected from domestic turkeys and chickens. In the other investigated sites, avian influenza was not detected and no further evidence of disease has been observed so far.

Therefore, the outbreaks seem geographically limited and controllable at this time, given a vigorous response in terms of selective and appropriate quarantine, culling, disinfection and intensified surveillance.

When the cases of H5N1 were confirmed in Jalalabad city and Kunar province, an emergency coordination meeting on Avian Influenza took place at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), gathering MAIL, MOPH, the Afghan Public Health Institute, UNAMA, WHO and FAO.

The Veterinary department has quarantined and disinfected the contaminated area of Nohea 4 in Jalalabad. Additional samples for virus detection were taken in neighbourhood flocks and these await processing in the CVDRL. An awareness campaign was done in the area for the population.

On average two thousand vaccinations are carried out on a daily basis in the areas surrounding infected places. It is estimated that a total of 60 000 vaccinations will be performed in the next month in Jalalabad. The Veterinary department in Jalalabad has still a stock of 140,000 vaccines available and part of those is going to be used for the areas around the case in Sawki District of Kunar.

It is essential that careful records of vaccinated birds are kept in order to focus surveillance in this population because vaccinated birds may harbour the virus in apparently.

The Ministry of Agriculture requested the Ministry of Interior to enforce the ban on poultry trade, which took place at a later stage. The Ministry of Agriculture has issued a ban on bird trade in Sawki District and has sent a team to start the disinfection of the area.

Avian influenza story source: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations)

Posted by john T. on 02/27 at 05:18 AM
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