The highly pathogenic H7N3 bird flu virus outbreak in western Mexico has killed at least 870,000 birds since its appearance in June through a combination of direct contact and culling to prevent the virus' spread, according to reports, and has put 79 farms at risk, among them 60 commercial layer farms, 11 breeder farms and 8 broiler farms. The immediate at-risk bird population is 14.4 million, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the buffer zone has been extended to 40 km around the index outbreak which includes 161 poultry farms with a population of 25.8 million of birds. Control measures on birds and their products movements have been strengthened in the quarantine area and eight check points have been established with the support of 26 health technicians with 9 vehicles that monitor the quarantine zone. Epidemiological surveillance activities continue in the outbreaks, around the outbreaks and in the buffer zone, said officials. As a measure to reduce the risk, sampling will be carried out in neighboring states and in poultry farms at risk outside the buffer zone.
Eliminating the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus from poultry in the six countries where it remains endemic will take ten or more years, according to a new FAO report.
The report makes specific recommendations for each country regarding measures that should be taken over the next five years to move them towards virus elimination, and calls for a sustained commitment to eradication efforts both by governments where the disease remains endemic and by international donors.
At its peak in 2006, the H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 HPAI) was reported in 60 countries. Today most have managed to stamp it out — but the virus remains firmly entrenched in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam due to a combination of three factors, according to the report.
The first relates to the structure of their national poultry sectors .... The second factor is the quality of public and private veterinary and animal production services ... and .... The final factor relates to the level of commitment to dealing vigorously with H5N1.
The FAO marked World Day to Combat Desertificationon June 17th with the publication of a manual that shows how a project in Mauritania successfully fixed dunes and stopped sand encroachment.
"It will serve as a useful blueprint for similar projects in Africa. Sand encroachment is what happens when grains of sand are carried by winds and collect in dunes on the coast, along watercourses and on cultivated or uncultivated land. As the dunes move, they bury villages, roads, oases, crops and irrigation channels and dams, causing major economic damage and increasing poverty and food insecurity". Click here to find out more.