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Bird Flu Hits Cameroon Again, Kills 15000 Fowls In Yaounde 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai & Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo

The highly pathogenous type H5 Bird Flu influenza has been reported in Cameroon.
The confirmation of the presence of the virus is contained in a laboratory test conducted by the Yaounde annex office of the National Veterinary Laboratory known by its French acronym as LANAVET.

The test was conducted following the massive death of over 15000 fowls in a poultry of about 20,000 capacity carrying chicks within three days at the Mvog-Betsi Poultry Complex located in the Yaounde VI District.

The poultry complex is specialised in the production and sale of day-old chicks.
According to a report dated May 24, highlighting results of analysis placed under diagnosis No 037/2016 conducted on 36 samples of carcases of the dead fowls, signed by the Director of LANAVET, Dr. Abel Wads, 15,000 dead fowls were recorded between Friday May 20 and Monday 23.

“LANAVET was informed through the phone by RESCAM and the Centre Regional Delegate of the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, MINEPIA, in the evening of Sunday May 22.

On Monday morning, a MINEPIA team made up of LANAVET, RESCAM and the Centre Regional Delegation of MINEPIA went to the site following instructions of the Minister to establish the facts and take appropriate samples for laboratory diagnosis,” the report states.

It noted that the clinical signs observed included the high death tool of over 15,000 fowls with the carcases stocked at the entrance of the building.

They also observed that the sick birds showed signs of stiff necks, paralysis, loss of appetite, difficulties in breathing, high degree of diarrhoea and sudden deaths. The carcasses also show signs of skin bleeding and a majority of the birds were lying on their backs.

“A total of 36 samples of carcases were collected in a representative manner from each of the infected buildings and taken to LANAVET annex of Mvog-Betsi Yaounde,” the report noted adding that in the laboratory, they were looking for bird flu influenza (1A) and the Newcastle Illness (MNC).
From the result obtained after conducting the rapid tests, bird flu influenza types “A” and H5 were detected, while the Newcastle Illness was not. Meanwhile, analysis for type “N” is ongoing, the report stated.

Meanwhile, a joint press briefing was organised in the Ministry of Communication in Yaounde on May 25 in the face of the crisis by the Minister of Public Health, Andrea Mama Fouda in the presence of his colleagues of MINEPIA, Dr. Taiga.

According to Mama Fouda, when the abnormal death of the fowls was reported, the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, immediately ordered for an investigation. He corroborated that 15,000 out of 33,000 birds died within few days, orchestrating a massive withdrawal of livestock from the Mvog-Betsi Poultry Complex.

He noted that as part of the measures taken, the remaining birds in the complex were burnt as bird flu was suspected. He said government was through the press briefing informing Cameroonians and the world at large that so far, no human life has been lost as a result of the outbreak of the virus. The Minister said the situation is under control and called on poultry farmers in Cameroon to be very vigilant and report all suspected cases.

Responding to questions, the Ministers admitted that the H5N1 virus is very dangerous to humans. They insisted that the area concerned is only around the Mvog-Betsi Poultry Complex and nowhere else as of now.

The Minister of Public Health told the pres that if by chance somebody is infected, treatment will be available for free.

It was revealed that all persons who visited the poultry complex where the birds were kept and those who were engaged in the sale of fowls from the affected area between May 16 and 22 are currently being investigated for possible medical scrutiny.

Bemoaning the fact that the incident will require additional expenditure on the State, Mama Fouda said government will be appealing for help from friendly and donor nations.

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