Yaounde,Cameroon—The government has banned chicken sale in the capital Yaounde and surrounding towns, following the resurgence of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
On Sunday May 22, the epidemiological surveillance network of the Minister of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) an “abnormally high mortality rate” of birds in the government owned Mvog-Betsi poultry complex of Yaounde which is known in French as “Complexe Avicole de Mvog-Betsi”.
The National Veterinary Laboratory (LANAVET) annex of Yaounde later confirmed the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus strain killed 15,000 of the 33,000 fowls in the farm, MINEPIA boss, Dr Taiga told journalists at a press conference he jointly granted with his colleagues of Communication and Public Health in Yaounde.
Following news of the outbreak, Prime Minister Philemon Yang chaired an emergency meeting and instructed officials to strengthen surveillance and apply other measures to contain the outbreak, Issa Tchiroma said.
The ban last Thursday by the Minister of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Industries (MINEPIA) is a measure to protect both people and birds from further contamination.
Officials of the Ministry of Trade (Regional Delegation for the Center) were in the major poultry markets in Yaounde on Friday to ensure the ban is respected. They promised to punish defaulters of the ministerial order.
The government slaughtered the remaining birds on the farm and incinerated all carcasses as part of measures to prevent further contamination. It also banned unauthorized visits to poultry farms.
Dr Taiga said a team of veterinary staff and medical personnel has been dispatched to all regions of the country to check if there may be other cases. He also called on citizens-particularly poultry farmers and traders to report suspected cases.
“The government is calling on poultry farmers to be vigilant (and notify authorities) of any case of suspicious dead of birds,” Dr Taiga said.
The first outbreak of H5N1 bird flu was reported in Cameroon’s Far North region in February 2006. Nigeria, Egypt and Niger had already reported cases of the flu poultry flocks same year.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi