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
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
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
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
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.