twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

EAC issues guidelines to prevent Avian flu

The East African Community (EAC), in collaboration with Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, has issued guidelines to prevent and curb the spread of Avian flu, a killer poultry disease

poultryThe disease mainly affects all kinds of poultry including chicken and can spread to humans as well. (Image source: Ton Rulkens/Flickr)

While cases of bird flu have not yet been reported in East Africa, proximity to infected countries and importation of poultry products continue to pose as an imminent threat. East Africa is reportedly considered vulnerable, as it lies in the route of migratory birds and has many wetlands.

The disease mainly affects all kinds of poultry including chicken, ducks, geese, quails, turkey, pigeons, ostrich and even pet birds. It spreads to humans and can cause deaths, as seen in China and other South East Asian nations during recent times.

So far, the bird flu, known as the Avian Influenza outbreaks have been reported in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Nigeria, Djibouti  and Sudan.

Western Cape department of agriculture deputy director (animal health), Pieter Koen, observed, “The virus has been spread by wild birds in the area. This does happen in the ostrich industry every winter.”

There are two forms of the infections in domestic birds- the low and high pathogenic forms.
Only visible through mild symptoms such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production, the low pathogenic form may easily go undetected.

However, the high pathogenic form spreads fast through poultry flocks affecting multiple internal organs within 48 hours and has a high mortality rate, approaching 100 per cent.

Recently, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned of the re-emergence of the disease with the approaching winter season in many countries in the northern hemisphere. FAO senior animal health officer Ian Douglas said, “We have over a decade of experience with the H5N1 Avian Influenza. Incidences have increased over the years. There is a possibility that the virus could re-emerge and become a more prevalent infection.”

Experts say the virus is spread in a number of ways, mainly through the introduction of infected birds into the flock, via contaminated feeds, equipment, cages, shoes and vehicle tyres.
Other instigators include contact of domesticated birds with their wild cousins.

Chicken and ducks that always roam the villages scratching on litter and insects come in direct contact with these wild birds.

The impact on the poultry sectors in Africa has been immense, as exports markets close with each outbreak.

An outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain in South Africa resulted in the European Union placing a ban on ostrich imports, resulting in a loss of over US$230mn to local farmers.

With this in mind, Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and the FAO issued guidelines to farmers and other stakeholders on prevention and early detection of the disease.

Preventive measures

Farmers are advised to purchase day-old chicks, feeds and eggs from reputable licensed distributors.

In managing the poultry unit, experts have prescribed a raft of measures. They include used of a footbath- a basin or a rug with a disinfectant at the entry of the poultry unit.

Wearing protective clothing such as gumboots and overalls while tending to poultry is important  and all visitors to the poultry units must wear them to gain access.

Hygiene in the poultry house is paramount in controlling infections. Consequently, the poultry house should be cleaned and disinfected regularly; attendants should wash their hands with soap before and after tending the birds, according to the EAC.

It has been advised that manure should be composted before usage and litter should be burned or buried. Rats and other vice should be kept out of the poultry house.

It is also important to separate new birds from the flock for at least two weeks for observation. Wild birds should be kept off the poultry units –either through mesh wires or an appropriate poultry unit designs.

Finally, farmers are advised to report any unusual poultry deaths to the nearest veterinary office or government departments for action.

According to the FAO, the established control methods have involved culling and vaccinations in the case of the H5N1 virus. Better responses, however, will require tracking the birds from where they come and their intended destinations.

Ensuring that poultry markets adhere to sanitation guidelines has been recommended.

Regionally, the EAC, a council of ministers responsible for livestock, health, tourism, wildlife and information, has come up with an Avian Influenza Plan of Action

The council established an Animal Health Desk under the EAC Secretariat Structure to coordinate regional level activities for the prevention and control of trans-boundary animal diseases, including Avian Influenza.

An EAC technical working group on avian influenza comprising nine members was recently set up.

Mwangi Mumero


LATEST NEWS IN Poultry

Wadi Group celebrate 30 year landmark anniversary as Ross customer

Wadi Group celebrate 30 year landmark an…

Wadi Group recently celebrated 30 years of collaboration with Ross, at its seventh Wadi Poultry Academy held from 25-29 September in Cairo, Egypt

Roxell introduces Fortena chain feeding system for broilers in the production period

Roxell introduces Fortena chain feeding …

Roxell, a leading manufacturer of automatic feeding, drinking, nesting, heating and ventilation systems, has launched the Fortena chain feeding system for broiler breeders in the production period

AMINOHen® The egg industry nutrition software

AMINOHen® The egg industry nutrition sof…

Balanced feed is essential to sustainable egg production and in-depth knowledge of nutrient requirements is the key to effective diet design, yet gaining a full and current overview can be...

BRAC Liberia continues to support poultry farmers

BRAC Liberia continues to support poultr…

The country director of BRAC Liberia, Rosy Choudhury, revealed that the organisation had been providing continued support to more than 200 poultry farmers through initiatives aimed at improving the livelihood...

Stopping the spread: Biosecurity measures to tackle Avian Influenza

Stopping the spread: Biosecurity measure…

The deadly bird flu, Avian Influenza has wrecked havoc in poultry farms across the world. Botswana is one of the many countries that have been majorly affected by the outbreak

Nigeria leads egg production and stands second in chicken production in Africa

Nigeria leads egg production and stands …

During a two-day training and empowerment of select poultry farmers, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Earnest Umakhihe announced that Nigeria had continued to lead egg production...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Poultry

African countries unite against chicken dumping

African countries unite against chicken …

Ghanaian and South African poultry industries have joined a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) opposing chicken dumping, the import of cheap chicken from the European Union

3 million households in Zimbabawe to receive poultry chicks

3 million households in Zimbabawe to rec…

The revamped Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme in Zimbabwe will see as many as 3 million households receiving 10 indigenous poultry chicks each, as part of a targeted empowerment programme

Better living standards leading to increased meat demand

Better living standards leading to incre…

Improving living standards in developing countries and an increase in the worldwide population have resulted in a steadily increasing demand for poultry and pork meat

African poultry producers receive boost

African poultry producers receive boost

The Tanzanian poultry sector is the latest in Africa to get a financial support from the United States, after a visit from the chairman of the United States Grains Council...

Zambia invests US$10 million in chicken plant

Zambia invests US$10 million in chicken …

Mathaniah Investments Limited chairperson John Sangwa stated the company set up Southern Chickens Processing Plant following the receival of 50ha of land from chief Simamba

Meyn launches Vent Cutter 240 for high-speed drilling

Meyn launches Vent Cutter 240 for high-s…

Meyn, the global manufacturer and distributor of equipment and systems for poultry processing industry, has launched Vent Cutter 240 for minimum yield loss with an exact drilling position and simple adjustment for...

Zambia's Ross Breeders partners with Cellulant

Zambia's Ross Breeders partners with Cel…

Zambia’s first choice for broiler chicken, Ross Breeders, have partnered with Cellulant to digitise their payments with Tingg

Improved breeds to boost poultry production in Nigeria

Improved breeds to boost poultry product…

A team of experts from the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACCG) in Nigeria has developed a new disease-resistant breed of chicken with higher egg output

Meyn’s new deboning solution offers full flexibility

Meyn’s new deboning solution offers full…

The global supplier of poultry processing services solutions Meyn Food Processing Technology’s new optional module, the semi-automatic loading carousel, saves labour and leads to higher poultry processing

Feeding Chickens for best health and performance

Feeding Chickens for best health and per…

An important part of raising chickens is feeding - feeding makes up the major cost of production and good nutrition is reflected in the bird's performance and its products

Poultry industry in Uganda revamped

Poultry industry in Uganda revamped

Ugachick Poultry Breeders Limited revamps poultry industry in Uganda through production of day-old chicks, high quality animal feeds and other poultry products

Sudan poultry project receives Qatari investment

Sudan poultry project receives Qatari in…

Qatari meat and livestock trading company Mawashi is investing in a Sudanese poultry project

Prev Next