The veterinary directorate in Egypt’s southwestern governorate of El-Wadi El-Gedid announced on Sunday a state of emergency after two Avian Flu hotspots were detected.
The avian influenza detected in the two hotspots was of the subtype H9, one of three subtypes known to infect people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The hotspots are two poultry farms in separate areas of the governorate’s Dakhla Oasis; the first is in Ezab Al-Qasr and the second is in Oweina village, directorate head Nagy Awad said.
After birds from both farms tested positive for H9, the health affairs authority was informed about the matter in order to conduct a medical examination on people who were recently in contact with the infected birds, Awad said.
Measures were immediately taken at the two farms and the infected birds were slaughtered under the supervision of veterinary specialists, he noted.
He added that a series of awareness campaigns is being implemented in Dakhla for housewives and poultry workers to inform them about how to deal with and combat the avian flu.
This comes only a few months after the Egyptian agriculture ministry said the country would resume poultry exports after a 14-year hiatus following approval by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), listing Egypt as among the countries within the ‘avian influenza free establishments’ system.
Egyptian companies that showed no signs of infection with avian influenza viruses were allowed to resume exporting their products for the first time since exports were suspended amid an outbreak of bird flu in Egypt in 2006, the ministry noted.
The avian flu does not normally infect human beings, the CDC said, adding that it is normally transmitted to domestic poultry and other bird and animal species from wild aquatic birds infected with the virus.