DAKAR, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Experts from Equatorial Guinea and several
African countries whose official language is Portuguese, are taking part in a
workshop on the management of possible outbreaks of the avian influenza,
according to information reaching here.
The meeting, which began in Praia, capital of Cape Verde, Monday, is part
of the program to strengthen national capacities in response to outbreaks of the
highly pathogenic avian influenza that is being implemented by the Food and
Agriculture Organization, in partnership with the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID).
The program is wholly financed by the U.S. government, one of the
organizers of the workshop was quoted as saying by the Pan-African News Agency.
It is intended to assist countries in West Africa, especially the
Portuguese-speaking ones, to improve their capacity to intervene in case of
outbreaks of avian influenza, said the organizer.
One of the objectives of the Praia workshop is to help organize a
simulation exercise to test the effectiveness of the rapid response mechanisms
set up by the participating countries.
In this sense, the participating countries will evaluate various plans and
programs to fight the disease in favor of participating countries and make rapid
response to extinguish the outbreak.
Another point of analysis will be functional operations, bio-security,
quarantine, culling, disinfection of contaminated material, communication and
the provision of information to ensure tranquility and confidence among farmers
and the general public, according to workshop organizers.
In the case of Cape Verde, the government in 2006 approved the
establishment of a comprehensive plan to prevent bird flu at a cost of up to one
million euro (about 1.55 million U.S. dollars), according to official sources.
The country's authorities said the investment is justified by the fact that
the archipelago is on the migrating path for birds from Africa, Europe and Asia,
"which increases the risk of entry of the H5N1 virus in the country."
Bird flu is primarily a disease affecting birds that feed from water
bodies, especially ducks, geese and swans. The birds usually catch bird flu
being in contact with other infected birds or during their movements on water or
soil where infected birds have left their droppings.
Bird flu spreads rapidly among poultry, according to experts. It kills
quickly in two days a large proportion of the infected chickens.
Since mid-December 2003, a number of avian influenza outbreaks among
domestic birds have been recorded in some 30 countries from Asia, Africa and
Europe, according to official figures.