Zim on high alert for avian influenza

Online Desk |  5 months ago | local

Zimbabwe is only importing mechanically deboned meats from High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) free countries as surveillance for the viral disease continues in poultry, including wild birds in the country.

Namibia, Botswana and South Africa have recently reported avian influenza cases while Zimbabwe has not had an outbreak.

Department of Veterinary Services chief director, Dr Josphat Nyika yesterday said the country was still on high alert for avian influenza.

Dr Nyika said the department had conducted workshops to re-energise stakeholders including farmers.

The Department of Veterinary Services of Namibia earlier notified of an outbreak of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza in wild migratory birds at the end of January.

South Africa and Botswana have also reported outbreaks of avian influenza.

Zimbabwe last experienced an outbreak of HPAI in 2017 which was fully resolved the same year, but have been on high alert since then.

Dr Josphat Nyika said there is heightened surveillance for Avian Influenza in poultry, including wild birds in the country.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has engaged the Ministry of Health and Child Care to activate preparedness plans for the potentially zoonotic disease.

Awareness is also being raised among all poultry industry value chain players through all media platforms on the urgent need to strengthen their biosecurity measures.

Poultry producers have also been advised to report unusually high illnesses and deaths of birds to the nearest Government veterinary offices.

Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of poultry chickens, turkeys, quails and guinea fowl and wild birds.

Influenza viruses are highly contagious and therefore spread very quickly in susceptible populations.

The disease can be spread through migratory wild birds and mechanical vectors, such as contaminated cages and clothing, and through the international trade in poultry and poultry products infection.

Symptoms of avian influenza include quick illness and sudden deaths.

The disease can potentially affect humans through exposure to infected birds or the handling of infected carcasses.