Malawi risk of bird flu outbreak

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in liason with the Ministry Health have announced that the country is risk of the deadly “Avian Influenza” commonly known as Bird flu.

Bird Flu scare

This follows a recent outbreak of Bird flu in some parts of Africa, namely Cameroon, Egypt and Uganda which has killed thousands of wild as well as domesticated birds.

 Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health Dr Charles Mwansambo and Secretary for the Ministry for Agriculture, Irrigation and water Development Erica Maganga stated that the National technical committee on Avian Influenza recently convened an emergency meeting.

Among other issues the committee resolved to reactivate its activities including reviewing and operationalizing the national preparedness/response framework which was prepared 2009.

“The existing preparedness framework sets out the requirements for early detection and response including communication in the event of an introduction of the disease into Malawi. In the event of an emergency outbreak,” the press release reads in part.

Through the press release the two ministries have assured the public that they are doing all they can to protect the nation from ravages of any bird flu outbreak in the country, be it through losses of livestock or risk to human health.

Among other things, the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water development has strengthened the roles of the Avian Influenza task force, identification of resource requirement, and implementation of emergency preparedness and contingency plan.

The task force is also required to come up with a communication strategy and resource mobilization for surveillance, rapid diagnosis and response.

The statement says there is an increased risk to Malawi due to potential risk factors such as geographical proximity of Uganda to Malawi, border porosity, and movement of animals and animal products.

The ministries say they are monitoring the events in the region to act swiftly when it strikes.

Bird Flu is a viral disease of poultry which has spread through many countries of the world in recent years causing massive losses in poultry flocks. Several subtypes of bird flu viruses can occasionally infect humans causing sickness and death.

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