Kassim Gharib, head of a task force formed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Environment, says that locals have continued to import poultry products in spite of a ban that was introduced in 2005.
The task force he leads was established specifically to ensure that bird flu
does not spread to the two semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar, part of the Republic of Tanzania.
“We seized the egg consignment of about 11 boxes imported from the Tanzanian mainland commercial capital of Dar es Salaam,” said Gharib.
According to the World Health Organisation
(WHO), the H5N1 avian influenza virus can be found inside eggs, and on the surface of eggs laid by infected birds.
There is, however, no epidemiological evidence to suggest that people have been infected with avian influenza through eating eggs or egg products. Thorough cooking of eggs can inactivate the virus, according to the WHO.
In August, Zanzibar’s authorities incinerated 61,000 chicken eggs in a bid to check the threat of bird flu, but because of high demand during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays this week, and the current high season for tourism in the islands, the price of eggs in Zanzibar has doubled.
The deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu has been found in poultry in several African countries, although the spread in Africa has not been as bad as first feared, according to UN bird flu expert Dr David Nabarro