News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Bird ‘flu outbreak – simulation exercise

21 February 2008

Bird ‘flu outbreak – simulation exercise

Note: Operation Avis is a simulation only, of a biosecurity response to a national bird flu outbreak. This is only an exercise, but a very important one.


At least 16 species of native bird could be affected by avian influenza, if the disease were to enter New Zealand, the Department of Conservation says.

“Kiwi, takahe and shore plover may be at risk of serious population declines if bird ‘flu got into New Zealand and became established in wild birds,” DOC veterinarian Kate McInnes said today.

A simulation exercise, called Operation Avis, is being run by the Department at the Environment Canterbury Emergency response facilities in Christchurch on 21-22 February. Operation Avis will train DOC’s South Island staff in the Department’s response in the event of an incursion of avian influenza.

This follows on from the successful simulation exercise called Operation Gallus which was run for North Island staff in Wellington in June last year.

DOC’s response plan details a number of measures such as disinfection, hygiene, reducing movements into special areas and even vaccination in some special cases to reduce the spread of the virus in and around populations of threatened species.

For example, DOC staff will be required to detect and report any sick or dead birds to the appropriate authorities via the MAF Biosecurity New Zealand hotline 0800 80 6699.

“Small samples of the at-risk species could be vaccinated to protect them from disease, as part of securing these species from extinction,” Ms McInnes said. The plan includes trigger points for when vaccinations would start, and lists the sites where they would be carried out.

DOC Biosecurity Deputy Chief Technical Officer, Joanne Perry, said Operation Avis would test DOC’s ability to carry out its internal response to a hypothetical scenario in which avian influenza has entered a specific part of New Zealand.

At that point a Coordinated Incident Management System (CIMS) would swing into action to manage DOC’s response.

The actual work during the two days will be carried out as a “desktop exercise”, in which identified DOC staff will take on roles within the CIMS structure. The team will develop an “incident action plan” to manage DOC’s response, and in so doing familiarise themselves with the kinds of decisions that would need to be made, and the processes that would trigger them.

In addition, Operation Avis will test:

• The effectiveness of DOC’s Avian Influenza Response Plan
• DOC’s readiness to respond to a national incursion
• DOC co-ordination with MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
• The type of information and support required of DOC by MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, and
• DOC’s capacity and capability to deliver on DOC and MAF Biosecurity New Zealand requirements.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland