Kenya on alert with bird flu next door

20-10-2006 | |

A recent outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in southern Sudan has prompted Kenyan authorities to issue a bird flu alert, banning poultry imports from Sudan and other affected countries.

Nicholas Muraguri of the ministry of health said extra teams of health workers and veterinarians were testing people and poultry for bird flu in the Turkana and Lokichoggio districts which border southern Sudan.
“Apart from surveillance, Kenya has banned poultry and poultry products imports from Sudan and other affected countries as a preventive measure against the bird flu,” Muraguli told the Xinhua News Agency.
Officials say Kenya and other east African countries are at risk because infected birds are migrating to the region from Europe to escape the northern hemisphere winter.
Muraguli said Kenya has set up 11 centers in public hospitals where health workers are carrying out surveillance on patients suffering from flu-like illnesses.
“People should not touch, eat, sell or transport poultry or wild birds found dead. They should instead report such cases to the nearest veterinary or public health office,” said Muraguli.
He said all tests carried out showed that there was no bird fly virus in Kenya and urged people to continue eating poultry, a staple protein source in rural Africa, without fear.
According to World Health Organisation statistics, bird flu has killed 151 people worldwide.

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