Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomeHealth & FitnessBird Flu poses potential threat to Grenada

Bird Flu poses potential threat to Grenada

“It has the potential to wipe out your entire poultry industry,” warned Dr Kimond Cummings, Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperative, as he explained the gravity of Avian Influenza virus.

Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean are alerted by the Ministry of outbreaks of the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, in several Latin American countries.

Avian influenza is the disease caused by infection with bird (avian) influenza (flu) Type A viruses disease that attacks the wild bird population and flocks of domestic birds, including chickens, turkeys and ducks.

The disease has a high mobility and mortality rate that comes with “a high onset of sickness and lots of deaths within short order,” he noted.

The Ministry release on the alert named Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Canada, Mexico Chile, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru currently battling the disease, but Dr Cummings said this should not have an impact on Grenada’s imports.

With the disease also affecting live birds, Dr. Cummings noted that, a local veterinarian has pledged his support in catching the birds, trapping, and sending them out for testing at a facility yet to be determined.

As a preventative move, a risk assessment action plan is being discussed among stakeholders, including the Royal Grenada Police Force, Customs officials at all ports of entry and the Grenada Bureau of Standards, as well as licensed importers.

“What we are doing at the moment is to ensure that our risk assessment process is tight – port of entry, strict quarantine measures, signs of sensitisation, ensuring the public is aware of what is going in the region and let them know that if they have to bring in any meat at all, they have to go through the proper channel to request an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, specifically the Vet and Livestock Division and we go through the process, we ensure that there is a good risk assessment being conducted, if we are satisfied with the results of the assessment, then we issue a permit to ensure that we protect our borders.”

Pest Management Officer Thaddeus Peters said vigilance by quarantine officers has increased.

“Once you have any of those products, you are required to declare it to customs and agriculture officials at your port of entry so that the correct action can be taken,” he said.

Similarly, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs, through a release issued earlier this week, said mechanisms are in place to make testing available should the need arise.

The Chief Medical Officer  indicated that a mechanism for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) or the United States-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being explored if there is suspicion of a case.

Businesses and individuals must seek permission before importing live animals or any meat and meat products, a warning that applies to visitors and returning nationals entering the country with meat and meat products.

Dr Cummings noted that in the event that Bird Flu arrives here, there are the measures that will have to take place.

“There would be a lot of zoning and culling; a lot of birds would have to be curled and that’s the only way you get rid of the disease. It would be a loss to farmers and the government because whenever there is a disease outbreak, the authorities, a lot of times would have to at least compensate farmers.”

The public is encouraged to report to the Livestock Division any sightings of unusual dead birds, or birds falling onto the ground as they migrate, and as well to refrain from and report activities of meat and meat products entering Grenada illegally.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious encourages citizen to avoid contact with sick or dead birds and poultry and continue to practice good hygiene which includes frequent handwashing, and sanitisation.

“These measures remain very effective against the spread of viral illnesses like influenza. At-risk individuals are also asked to get vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccines which are available at public health clinics at no cost.”

Caption: Chief Vet and Livestock Officer Dr Kimond Cummings said a risk assessment action plan is being put in place

Bird Flu poses potential threat to Grenada

“It has the potential to wipe out your entire poultry industry,” warned Dr Kimond Cummings, Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperative, as he explained the gravity of Avian Influenza virus.

Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean are alerted by the Ministry of outbreaks of the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, in several Latin American countries.

Avian influenza is the disease caused by infection with bird (avian) influenza (flu) Type A viruses disease that attacks the wild bird population and flocks of domestic birds, including chickens, turkeys and ducks.

The disease has a high mobility and mortality rate that comes with “a high onset of sickness and lots of deaths within short order,” he noted.

The Ministry release on the alert named Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Canada, Mexico Chile, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru currently battling the disease, but Dr Cummings said this should not have an impact on Grenada’s imports.

With the disease also affecting live birds, Dr. Cummings noted that, a local veterinarian has pledged his support in catching the birds, trapping, and sending them out for testing at a facility yet to be determined.

As a preventative move, a risk assessment action plan is being discussed among stakeholders, including the Royal Grenada Police Force, Customs officials at all ports of entry and the Grenada Bureau of Standards, as well as licensed importers.

“What we are doing at the moment is to ensure that our risk assessment process is tight – port of entry, strict quarantine measures, signs of sensitisation, ensuring the public is aware of what is going in the region and let them know that if they have to bring in any meat at all, they have to go through the proper channel to request an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, specifically the Vet and Livestock Division and we go through the process, we ensure that there is a good risk assessment being conducted, if we are satisfied with the results of the assessment, then we issue a permit to ensure that we protect our borders.”

Pest Management Officer Thaddeus Peters said vigilance by quarantine officers has increased.

“Once you have any of those products, you are required to declare it to customs and agriculture officials at your port of entry so that the correct action can be taken,” he said.

Similarly, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious Affairs, through a release issued earlier this week, said mechanisms are in place to make testing available should the need arise.

The Chief Medical Officer  indicated that a mechanism for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) or the United States-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being explored if there is suspicion of a case.

Businesses and individuals must seek permission before importing live animals or any meat and meat products, a warning that applies to visitors and returning nationals entering the country with meat and meat products.

Dr Cummings noted that in the event that Bird Flu arrives here, there are the measures that will have to take place.

“There would be a lot of zoning and culling; a lot of birds would have to be curled and that’s the only way you get rid of the disease. It would be a loss to farmers and the government because whenever there is a disease outbreak, the authorities, a lot of times would have to at least compensate farmers.”

The public is encouraged to report to the Livestock Division any sightings of unusual dead birds, or birds falling onto the ground as they migrate, and as well to refrain from and report activities of meat and meat products entering Grenada illegally.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Religious encourages citizen to avoid contact with sick or dead birds and poultry and continue to practice good hygiene which includes frequent handwashing, and sanitisation.

“These measures remain very effective against the spread of viral illnesses like influenza. At-risk individuals are also asked to get vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccines which are available at public health clinics at no cost.”

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