Windhoek-Imports of poultry products from countries infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus have been banned, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has said.
“Importers are urged to contact the Veterinary Permits Office for further information on the countries currently affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
“Since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the suspension takes effect 42 days, i.e. two incubation periods, prior to the date of first detection. All previously issued import permits are hereby recalled,” read the statement.
Countries affected are among others some parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, which are France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, India and Nigeria.
Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus, which occurs worldwide.
All birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza, though some species are more resistant to infection than others. Highly pathogenic avian influenza is characterised by sudden onset, severe illness and rapid death, with a mortality rate that can approach 100 percent.
Common clinical signs include swelling and purple discolouration of the fowl’s head, comb and wattle, swelling and red discolouration of the feet, bleeding of internal organs and muscles, greenish diarrhoea, twisting of the neck, staggering movement and paralysis of wings and legs.
The disease is caused by some strains of the subtypes, H5N1, H7N9, which may be transmitted to humans. Humans can be infected with the virus via the eyes, nose, mouth through handling and coming into close contact with infected poultry/birds, and/or through the handling of their saliva, mucus and faeces of infected birds and through consumption of poultry products from infected poultry.