Thursday, January 23, 2014

#H7N9 Kenya at Risk of Influenza A H7N9 Virus in Poultry

hat-tip Poultry Site
January 22, 2014
The possibility of the rapid spread of a poultry disease to Kenya known as Influenza A H7N9 virus is imminent after it was confirmed in China.
Frequent movement of people and services due to the ongoing construction works of roads in the country and service sectors coupled with porous ken borders, have made the spread even more real than ever before.
Speaking during a workshop on Emergency Assistance for Surveillance of Influenza A H7N9 at a Nairobi hotel, Principal Secretary State Department of Livestock Dr. Khadijah Kassachoon said Kenya and China have cordial relationship and technical cooperation which has resulted in increasing movement of goods and services heralding the risk.
“Although the source of H7N9 is not yet confirmed, biological surveillance conducted in China revealed the presence of infection in poultry and other birds”, she said.
The PS added that the International trade policies such as COMESA and EAC further complicate the risk of spread of H7N9 and other poultry diseases.
Dr. Kassachoon added that during the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) threat caused by H5N1 virus some years back, Kenya experienced adverse effects on poultry production and trade with financial losses estimated at around Ksh 2.3 billion.
She noted that unlike the H5N1 infection where poultry show distinct clinical sights and high mortalities, the H7N9 virus infection show no clinical signs hence the potential for silent spread to wider geographical areas undetected.
Dr. Kassachoon added that this coupled with high human susceptibility, the infection had potential to cause pandemic and higher economic losses.
She said the two day workshop for surveillance of the Influenza A in low to moderate risk countries in Africa was geared towards reinforcing risk assessment, disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity for H7N9, communication management including preparedness and response.
The PS said, the poultry sector in Kenya has an estimated 31.8 million poultry, of which, 76% are indigenous, 14% are broilers, 8% rare layers while other birds such as ducks, turkeys, quails, ostriches make up the remaining 2%.
Participants at the workshop were experts in health and veterinary services drawn from 11 African Countries.

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