Sadc to meet over Avian Influenza

 

 

 

The Southern African Development Community secretariat, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has organised a meeting following recent outbreaks of the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 virus in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The regional technical meeting, which will take place in South Africa from tomorrow to Friday, is meant to assess the preparedness, response capacities and actions of member states to the recent outbreaks of HPAI in the sub-region.

In a statement yesterday, FAO said the meeting will provide an opportunity to assess the preparedness, response capacities and actions of affected and at-risk member states; and also review the contingency plans of member states.

“The meeting will also harmonise and standardise the laboratory testing protocols and capacities of member states, provide a platform for sharing of information, experiences, knowledge and good practices, on the management of HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in the region and also improve regional co-ordination by strengthening sub-committees, technical working groups and networks,” said FAO.

Zimbabwe has had another outbreak of bird flu at Lanark Farm last week. Lanark Farm is the only farm in the country that has been affected by the disease and the Department of Veterinary and Livestock Services is working on preventing the infection from spreading.

The disease had initially been detected and confirmed on May 24 and the situation had stabilised following complete depopulation of affected poultry sites in June.

The farm had been in quarantine under veterinary supervision since then and will now remain in quarantine for three months or until the disease is completely resolved.

All birds in the newly affected sites were destroyed and buried together on site. The current outbreak has been confirmed by the laboratory to be linked to the first one caused by Avian Influenza-H5N8 type virus, but the virus has not affected people.

South Africa had an outbreak in Villiers close to Mpumalanga provincial border in June.-The Herald

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