The Ministry of Agriculture through the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and the Ministry of Health through its Epidemiology & Disease Control Unit (EDC) is joined by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and Department of Parks and wildlife Management (DPWM) under the Ministry of Environment to inform the general public of a reported outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) of the type H5N1 in our neighbour Republic of Senegal. This event of public health concern happened in a Layer Poultry Farm in Thies, Senegal, with 100,000 chickens of which 58,000 chickens got sick and died from the disease while the remaining 42,000 chickens were killed as a measure to control the outbreak. The official notification was issued to the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) on the 7th of January 2021 and it’s through this means that the Veterinary Services of The Gambia knows about the event.
Therefore, the national taskforce composed of EDC, NDMA, and DPWM and led by DLS is invoking the Integrated National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for Avian & Human Influenza (AHI) (2015-2019) for the implementation of the necessary activities to address the risk posed by the presence of HPAI virus in Senegal and to continue with efforts to further secure its absence in The Gambia.
HPAI known as Bird Flu is a highly contagious viral disease with a significant zoonotic risk and a major global public health concern or potential pandemic similar to COVID-19 or even worse. HPAI control measures are centered on domesticated poultry like chicken.
The DLS and its partners are taking this opportunity to urge everyone to remain calm but vigilant and report any unusual animal health event in poultry only to DLS staff. The ultimate objective of this message is protecting human lives and enhancing food security being a clear indication of the commitment of The Government of The Gambia to protect its citizens and their livelihoods.