Avian Influenza Virus

LILONGWE-(Maravi Post)- Malawians are said to be in great fear with reports of bird flu outbreak that are emanating from some parts of African countries, including Cameroon, Egypt and Uganda; where it is feared thousands of wild birds and domesticated poultry, are said to have affected and killed many people.

The Malawi government however, through ministries of Agriculture, and Health have come quickly to alert the public on the disease’s scare with assurance that all measures are in place to contain the outbreak if it strikes the country.

In a joint press statement released this week, and made available to The Maravi Post, government is reactivating its activities that include reviewing and operationalizationing the national preparedness framework, which was done in 2009.

The statement reads that existing the preparedness policy sets out the requirements for early detection, and response such as communication, in the event of a country-entry of the disease. The alert also highlights that the national technical committee on avian influenza, recently convened an emergency meeting of stakeholders from the key sectors, including livestock, health, wildlife and information on the matter.

“Cognizant of the increased threat and potential risk factors such as geographical proximity of Uganda to Malawi, border porosity, and movement of animals and animal products, government is closely monitoring the development of this deadly disease, reports on the global situation with respects to the disease trend, and the status in other countries within the region,” reads the statement signed by Charles Mwasambo and Erica Maganga, ministries of Health, and Agriculture (Principal Secretary and Agriculture Chief of Health Services, respectively).

According to World Health Organization (WHO), bird flu which is known as Avian Influenza, is a viral disease emanating from poultry, but can also infect humans causing sickness and death.

The WHO says that people can get infected through direct contact with live or dead birds infected with the disease; the symptoms in humans include a sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache, severe sickness, coughing, and a sore throat. Symptoms normally show from between two and up to 17 days after infections; therefore, care must be taken when contracted with the virus.

 

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