The director general at Department of Livestock Services, Abdou Ceesay, at the press conference urged the need take up the responsibility to activate an emergency preparedness and response plan as it is a public health challenge.
According the Mr. Ceesay, “we are in an emergency as far as a livestock disease affecting poultry is concern in The Gambia. Since last week when it was reported through the official notification website of the World Animal Health Organisation that the Senegalese authorities have reported an outbreak of high influenza.”
He added that the official information was taken to be an official notification to a country like The Gambia as a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health with a membership of 182 countries.
“When such a thing happens, especially with this type of disease, normally countries that are notified are expected to take immediate measures to ensure that their countries are protected against the entry of this said disease in their territories,” he added.
Ceesay further explained that the report received through this notification indicated that the outbreak was spotted in a layer birds in Thies, Senegal with 100,000 chickens of which 58,000 got sick and died from the disease while the remaining 42,000 were killed; a measure the control of the outbreak.
According to the same report, the outbreak was resolved. Also the source of the outbreak in that layer farm is not known by the Senegalese authorities as investigations were ongoing so that they could be providing weekly reports and update on the situation.
He explained that the said disease was first discovered in Italy, affecting birds but started getting prominence in the 1990s. “For Africa, it started becoming more important in the early 2000 and now it has reached doorstep, Senegal. However, he said that the government of The Gambia is doing all its best to make sure it doesn’t get to the country.