Dominica getting ready for Bird Flu

Warning that the Avian Influenza or Bird Flu is near Dominica, Chief Veterinarian Officer, Dr. Reginald Thomas said the island is putting systems in place in case the diseases surfaces on the island.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of an Avian Influenza Tabletop Simulation Excercise on Tuesday morning, Thomas said there are no reported cases of the disease in Dominica but the island must prepare.

“We are not in an outbreak phase, I want to make that point, I do not want to scare anybody, however, the disease is near to us and we need to prepare,” he stated. “So if anything that can go out to the public, is that statement that the disease is not in Dominica, it is in the region, it is in the Americas and the Government of Dominica, the region, we are preparing that if it does come in, that we can manage it.”

He stated that systems are being put in place in case the disease surfaces.

“The Ministry of Agriculture has recognized the possibility of the introduction of this disease and we are preparing, puting the systems in place that if it does enter, we can manage from the point of view of recognizing the disease, being able to manage it, and to continue life after it has come in,” Thomas stated.

He noted that the government is partnering with different international agencies and local stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, the police, the fire department and most importantly farmers, since “they are the one who are and who will most likely see the problem before and inform the system that something is going on.”

“We are organizing to ensure that we can manage,” Thomas said.

The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Avian Influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred. (Dominica News Online)

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