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Rwanda: Contingency plan on Bird Flu out

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  • Rwanda: Contingency plan on Bird Flu out


    Saturday, 3rd May 2008

    Contingency plan on Bird Flu out

    The government of Rwanda together with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has come up with a contingency plan to fight and prevent the spread of Avian Flu on a regional basis.

    This was revealed during a five day regional workshop on Prevention and Control of Bird Flu and Enhancing Veterinary Services in The Great Lakes Region that ended April 29 at Akagera game lodge.

    The aim of the workshop was to come up with solid recommendations on the best ways to prevent the disease from spreading to this part of the Great Lakes region.

    The workshop attracted veterinary and national park staff, and ornithological staff from Rwanda, Burundi and Congo.

    It gave a wide-range overview on avian influenza in an attempt to shed more light on the disease and the viruses that cause it.

    During the workshop, Dr. Alexandre Caron from the International Centre for Agriculture (CIRAD) and a consultant for FAO, discussed in detail with the participants about birds and debated on sites and species for sampling during the training.

    "We are setting up a surveillance system for the Avian Flu in wild birds by bringing together veterinary and national park staff from the three countries to harmonise the surveillance system in the great lakes region," Caron said.

    The FAO country representative, Elizabeth Balepa told The New Times that they hatched a contingency plan with the Cabinet to prevent Avian Flu.

    "We are working hand in hand with the government to prevent the disease though there has never been any case of the disease in the country. This is a preventive mechanism and that is why we are doing it on a regional level," Balepa said.

    Avian influenza is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These viruses occur naturally among birds.

    Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them.

    Human cases of bird flu have generally been linked to contact with infected poultry. Health experts fear the virus may mutate into a form that passes easily from human to human, causing a pandemic that could affect millions.