Reducing risks for people and poultry
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CTA. 2006. Reducing risks for people and poultry. Rural Radio Resource Pack 06/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57311
Practical advice on observing flocks, minimising risk from bird droppings, and buying new birds.
Reducing risks for people and poultry Cue: Each year, the coming of winter in the Northern Hemisphere causes millions of birds to fly south, searching for warmer weather. Many end up in Africa, often settling in wetland areas. For African countries this also brings potential danger. The H5N1 strain of avian flu has been detected in several European and Asian countries, and could potentially be brought to Africa by migrating birds, such as ducks and geese. For commercial poultry farmers and small scale village farmers, an outbreak of avian flu could be devastating; a serious outbreak could also have significant impact on national economies for some countries. In 2006, Senegal was one of several African countries where an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu occurred. This is the type of flu that can also be spread to humans, and has led to over one hundred human deaths in East Asia. The small country of The Gambia is surrounded by Senegal on three sides. So far it has remained free of the virus, but the government has set up rapid response teams in 6 zones of the country, to deal with an outbreak should one occur. So what should farmers be doing, both to minimise the risks to their poultry and to themselves? In this interview, Dr Demba Jallow, head of the national avian flu response team, offers some advice. Putting the questions was Ismaila Senghore. IN: ?One, try to be observing your birds?? OUT: ??marginalised and the poorest therefore.? DUR?N: 5?07? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Ismaila Senghore was speaking to Dr Demba Jallow, Assistant Director of Livestock Services for The Gambia, and head of the national avian flu rapid response team. The interview comes from a radio resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Jallow One, try to be observing your birds everyday to observe any mortalities or sickness and other things. That?s one. And report immediately to the nearest veterinary personnel in case you notice some mortalities or some sickness in your birds, that?s one. Two, dead birds should be buried deep or burned. They should not be eaten, and any poultry products should be well cooked. Never eat sick birds. And then three you should always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, to kill the virus. So that is some of the advice we always give to our farmers. Senghore Now Dr Jallow, we understand that the most infectious part of the poultry is the droppings, poultry droppings. Now this can be in the poultry yard or it can be in transportation vehicles, or receptacles where these flocks may be put. What do you advise people to do to make sure that they are not easily in contact with droppings which might be infected? Jallow We have always told our farmers, any time you visit your poultry, wash your hands properly, and then every time you visit the poultry, always remove all your clothes and wash them, of course your shoes and all those things. And three, when it comes to droppings, droppings should be well cleaned and then packed in one area of the farm, preferably dried and then buried. Because the virus lives best in dung which is very moist. So we always discourage moisture being in the dung. Senghore But I?m sure in some places they will recommend cleaning of all utensils and so forth, but there are areas where there might not be enough water. I?m sure fortunately here in The Gambia we seem to have adequate water. But just in areas in African countries who are also just as concerned as we are, where there is no water, what do you recommend for them to do? Jallow Now that will be very difficult. In The Gambia as you just stated, we have a lot of water. But in areas where perhaps water is scarce, perhaps they have to dry the equipment or their clothing in air, in the hope that the hot sun will sterilise this equipment. Senghore Now when you come to generally the hazards, what are the main possibilities for the virus to transfer from birds to humans? Jallow From birds to humans. Of course it is very high, especially where there is no hygiene, or where there is ignorance of the mode of transmission of the disease. That is why we always advise that you should maintain hygiene at all levels. That?s why when you?re cooking meat, poultry meat, etc. and when you are dealing with poultry, your poultry house should be far away from where you live. It should be well cleaned daily, and you should always put on a mask when you are cleaning the dung and all those things, and you should always wash your hands thereafter, and of course always cook your meat or eggs thoroughly. And then of course, at a commercial level, we advise farmers to maintain biosecurity so that at least they is least movement between birds from their farm to an outside farm, that?s one, or birds within their farm and these other migratory birds that come to seek for feed and other things. So hygiene is the key word in the effort to prevent poultry to human transmission. Senghore And I?m sure you also want to have a say on regional movements, because there could be cross border movement of animals from other countries into our country. Jallow Exactly, just as migratory birds don?t have boundaries, they move from Europe to here, they can get to our neighbouring country like Senegal and then still move to our wetlands here, without warning or so. So it is always very important, that?s why you have to have regional networking with our neighbours. That we have already established with Senegal, so that we can be sharing information in terms of movements and all those things. Senghore But what about live birds, I mean poultry? Jallow Live birds, this concerns the fact that our borders are very porous and we have these weekly markets, where people across the border trade in live poultry. So this is a major source of concern. But again, just as I have told you, we have sensitised our people sufficiently enough, to be able to at least hopefully be responsible for their own well-being, or the well-being of their animals in case there is an outbreak, or even before there is an outbreak. Maintain hygiene, don?t buy sick birds, don?t carry sick birds to your home, always isolate them or quarantine them for at least two weeks before you introduce them into the flock, don?t accept birds which are gifts and other things, especially when you think they are sick, and other things. Things like that we have well informed our people, and we hope that they will abide by such things and then minimise the risk of bird to human transmission. Senghore Do you think it is important to have a clause that for example prohibits the introduction of infected poultry into particular areas, and if anyone contravenes it, for example. Jallow This is in the Animal Disease Act of this country, that in the case of an outbreak, or the case of transboundary diseases, nobody is allowed by law to trade in such animals or birds. So anybody who is found doing such a thing can land himself in prison also. Senghore Now to conclude, what is the overall threat of bird flu to a small economy like The Gambia? Jallow It may be devastating, because up to about 80 per cent of our population are the farming community and most of them keep poultry, and these poultry help them in the solving of their small problems on a daily basis. So where poultry are wiped out then their livelihoods are destroyed and then that means that they have to go back to zero again and start from scratch. So it is actually a big threat. It can destroy a whole economy, concerning the fact that the affected people will the most marginalised and the poorest therefore. End of track.