Bird Flu Management Discussed by Portuguese-speaking Countries

EQUATORIAL GUINEA - Experts from Equatorial Guinea and several African countries whose official language is Portuguese, are taking part in a workshop on the management of possible outbreaks of the avian influenza.
calendar icon 24 June 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
An official source in China reports that the meeting, which began in Praia, capital of Cape Verde, on 23 June, is part of the program to strengthen national capacities in response to outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza that is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The program is wholly financed by the US government, one of the organizers of the workshop was quoted as saying by the Pan-African News Agency. It is intended to assist countries in West Africa - especially the Portuguese-speaking ones - to improve their capacity to intervene in case of outbreaks of avian influenza, said the organizer.

One of the objectives of the Praia workshop is to help organize a simulation exercise to test the effectiveness of the rapid response mechanisms set up by the participating countries.

In this sense, the participating countries will evaluate various plans and programs to fight the disease in favor of participating countries and make rapid response to extinguish the outbreak.

Another point of analysis will be functional operations, bio-security, quarantine, culling, disinfection of contaminated material, communication and the provision of information to ensure tranquility and confidence among farmers and the general public, according to workshop organizers.

In the case of Cape Verde, the government in 2006 approved the establishment of a comprehensive plan to prevent bird flu at a cost of up to €1 million (about US$1.55 million), according to official sources.

The country's authorities said the investment is justified by the fact that the archipelago is on the migrating path for birds from Africa, Europe and Asia, "which increases the risk of entry of the H5N1 virus in the country."

Bird flu is primarily a disease affecting birds that feed from open water, especially ducks, geese and swans. The birds usually catch bird flu being in contact with other infected birds or during their movements on water or soil where infected birds have left their droppings.

Avian flu spreads rapidly among poultry, according to experts. It kills quickly in two days a large proportion of the infected chickens.

Since mid-December 2003, a number of avian influenza outbreaks among domestic birds have been recorded in some 30 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe, according to official figures.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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