Angola poultry face ban
Government could move to ban poultry imports from Angola after 35 birds imported from the neighbouring country were found to have been infected by the Newcastle disease.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has since confirmed the outbreak of the virus in a backyard farm in Outapi, in the Omusati region, to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
According to a report filed by Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Adrianatus Maseke with the IOE, a case of Newcastle disease was confirmed in July, with tests having been carried out at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in August.
The Directorate of Veterinary Services has already instructed officials at all control points/gates on the Veterinary Cordon Fence to restrict the transportation of poultry as a containment measure as vaccination is being carried out on all the poultry around the outbreak area.
Government, according to agriculture sector officials, now requires over 50 000 doses of Newcastle disease vaccine to contain the outbreak.
The Poultry Producers Association (PPA) said the outbreak of the disease poses a threat to the sector if it is not contained effectively.
“It concerns us, but we have procedures in place that should be followed. There is need for a quick reaction to contain the outbreak,” PPA president James Roux told the Windhoek Observer.
He said a full-fledged outbreak of the disease, which affects the bird species, both domestic and wild, and is transferable to humans, could negatively impact on the country’s poultry and agricultural sector.
In humans, the Newcastle disease causes mild flu-like symptoms or conjunctivitis (an infection of the eye that is also called pink eye) and/or laryngitis (an irritation and swelling of the voice box and the area around it).
“Definitely there will be a huge impact. We are vaccinating our poultry against the disease, even small chicks when they come into the country as per requirements,” Roux said.
The PPA president said as part of the contingency measures, poultry farmers will be placed on alert.
“We are busy getting more information and also placing the industry on high alert,” he said.
“It’s worrying to see that happened already in July and no vaccination was given prior to the outbreak. This is the first known outbreak for me; therefore we will investigate flaws and improve on this neglect.
“We propose a meeting with stakeholders to share information on precautionary measures to avoid spreading the disease like the foot and mouth disease last year.”
Namib Poultry Industries (NPI) said although it has not been affected by the outbreak, it was at risk because of the lack of a vaccination plan for small scale poultry farmers in the country.
“Any outbreak in the country is a risk to NPI. Our concern is that informal poultry farmers haven’t got a comprehensive Bio- Security and Vaccination programme plan in place,” Spokesperson, Ashante Manetti said.
“We have a strict Bio-Security protocol in place to prevent any outbreaks and a comprehensive vaccination and monitoring plan. Namib Poultry Industries follow the international OIE and State Veterinary guidelines in case of an outbreak.”
The outbreak of Newcastle disease comes as government is planning to spend over N$200 million annually on foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccine acquired from Botswana’s Vaccine Institute (BVI), to contain any future outbreaks of the disease.