Increasing biosecurity when outbreaks occur
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CTA. 2006. Increasing biosecurity when outbreaks occur. Rural Radio Resource Pack 06/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
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How farmers and traders can minimise the risk of a widespread outbreak.
Increasing biosecurity when outbreaks occur Cue: Cross-border trade in poultry and poultry products is big business in much of Africa. However despite being a good source of income for the traders, and a valuable source of meat and eggs for consumers, there can be risks in this cross-border trade. Spreading disease from one country to another is one risk. For example, when Nigeria first experienced outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in early 2006, neighbouring countries became very concerned. For this reason, when outbreaks of contagious livestock disease occur, governments can decide to impose a ban on all imports of the livestock concerned, at least until the outbreak is controlled. However, few governments are can make import bans completely effective; they lack the trained staff to do it. Controlling movements of livestock within a country is even more difficult. But controlling diseases like avian flu is in everyone?s interest, and it is everyone?s responsibility to prevent the disease spreading. Farmers, for instance, must know the right thing to do if they suspect one or more of their birds has caught or died from the virus. In a recent interview, Excello Zidana spoke to Michael Nkosi, a lecturer at Malawi?s Natural Resources College, and began by asking what farmers should do if one of their birds shows symptoms of the virus. IN: ?I would advise that the ?? OUT: ??Thank you very much.? DUR?N: 5?56? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: And asking the questions was Excello Zidana. The interview comes from a radio resource pack on avian flu produced by CTA. Transcript Nkosi I would advise that the first thing that farmers should do is actually to report to the nearest veterinary station. That is the first thing, so that maybe officers should come, verify the signs and symptoms, if there is need undertake sampling, take birds to the lab and then they would do analysis. But unfortunately in Malawi we may not have the capacity to test for avian influenza. But the other thing that farmers need to do is to intensify bio-security measures. They should not just allow their workers to move from house to house if they have several units of birds. Maybe they should allocate specific attendants to a specific house so that the virus is not passed on to safe birds. Zidana How does the virus spread? Nkosi The virus can spread in many ways. It could be from inanimate objects like farm equipment. If you just borrow feeders from any how, drinkers from any unknown farm you can spread the virus. From clothes of people, boots... So I should emphasise that protective wear is very important and should be specific to a unit. Zidana Let?s look at the handling of the sick birds, how does a farmer handle sick birds from his farm? Nkosi One, he should first of all isolate the sick birds, confine them separately. But at the same time he should put on protective wear, even a mask if it is available, because you never know, he maybe working with a strain of avian influenza virus that can affect man. So you need to be protected whether it is confirmed or not. Zidana And if this farmer wants his dead birds to be tested from any lab around, how does he carry the dead bird? Nkosi He can put the birds in a plastic bag that is having no holes or double plastic bag, the whole live bird push it there and then transport it to the lab. As I said earlier on that in this country we do not have the capacity to examine and diagnose for this virus. Then the lab knows how to safely package international samples to referral labs. Zidana Now let?s turn to disposing of the dead birds. How should the process of disposing of the dead birds carried out? Nkosi If it is by mass slaughter, if it is the government policy to say we want to control the outbreak by mass slaughter, one, you can bury very deep: two metres deep, three metres. Or you can dig a shallow pit and then push all the birds there, put diesel and then burn. Zidana Why three metres Mr Nkosi? Nkosi Because some carnivores like dogs, cats, jackals, they can jump into a shallow pit, lift the animal and then they can scavenge and spread the virus. Zidana People who know avian flu very well have indicated that the virus can survive in birds? droppings. What measures should be taken when using items such as cages, bicycles or even vehicle tyres trying to go to an area where people suspect that there could be this outbreak? Nkosi The first thing is to institute wheel baths just outside the farm. You need to have a wheel bath that has disinfectant and as the vehicle is moving across all the manure will remain there. But at the same time you need to spray the whole vehicle canopy, even the tyres, so that you do not take the manure. Because you never know, you can carry the virus. About the facilities like cages, you need to decontaminate and remove all the manure if it is there, so that you move a safe product. Zidana In countries like Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, people know that birds migrate from one region to another. Are there special rules to guard maybe the movement of wild birds from one country to another, as a region or as a continent? Nkosi That is a very tricky question. You know natural birds, you cannot govern them, but you definitely know the routes that they take from one continent to the other. The only bet is actually to avoid contact of domesticated birds with the wild birds along the shores of Lake Malawi or any other ocean in this region. We need to advise our farmers, maybe to intensively rear birds that are domestic to avoid that contact. Zidana Lastly how or what do you advise people involved in business of poultry, cross-border business people trying to bring in maybe birds or meat from birds? What do you advise them to do if they are doing that in the event of rumours that there should be avian flu within the region? Nkosi The only advice that I can give is they need to follow proper protocol. Get all the licenses for importation. They should desist from smuggling because avian influenza can not only affect their consumers; even themselves if it is brought into this country, we are all at risk. So what we need to do is desist from smuggling or black marketing and then follow proper channels. Zidana That was Mr Michael Nkosi who is an Animal Scientist at Natural Resources College, thank you Mr Nkosi. Nkosi Thank you very much. End of track.
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