JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture is reporting that the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) has been included in the Ministry’s ‘Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness Plan’.
As a result, Avian Influenza will be covered under an integrated plan that the Ministries of Agriculture and Health have devised to prevent such global threats from reaching Jamaica, and to control any outbreak of animal disease.
Speaking with JIS News, Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke explained that the Ministries of Finance, Transport, Justice and National Security, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Jamaica Livestock Association and major poultry enterprises were all playing an integral part in preventing an outbreak of bird flu.
This pandemic preparedness plan falls under the purview of the National Emergency Animal Disease Committee (NEADCOM).
“The role of NEADCOM is to promulgate policies and co-ordinate inputs of different government ministries and other agencies in the prevention, control and eradication of foreign animal diseases,” the Minister explained, adding that Jamaica was following the guidelines as set out by the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO).
Speaking at a press briefing recently, to announce the establishment of NEADCOM, the PAHO/WHO Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Ernest Pate, said his organization “commends Jamaica for developing a plan, with agriculture as key”. In this regard, he noted that Jamaica was ahead in the Caribbean.
As part of the measures to prevent the bird flu, Field Officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) are educating poultry farmers on how the disease is spread, which is through direct contact with secretions from infected birds, especially droppings and nasal secretions.
In addition, poultry farmers are being advised that contaminated feed, water, equipment and clothing may introduce the virus to a flock. Wild birds, such as migratory birds, and water birds may be one source of the bird flu virus.
There is no cure for the virus, and as such poultry farmers are urged to observe their flocks daily for any changes in appetite or behaviour. A veterinarian, animal health official or RADA extension officer must be informed immediately if the bird flu is suspected.
Poultry farmers must avoid contact between poultry and wild birds by proofing their poultry houses from these wild birds. They must ensure that wild birds, including pigeons, cannot enter the poultry house and the feed and water must be protected from contamination by these wild birds.
Outbreaks of bird flu can also be kept at bay, if all persons who work with poultry wear protective clothing, boots and gloves. Also, they should dispose of dead birds immediately and effectively by deep burial.