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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Update for Ethiopia

VZCZCXRO8644
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1042/01 0991423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091423Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5490
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001042

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/AIAG, AF/EX, AND DS/IP/AF
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD, BGH/AI, AFR/ESA
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ET KFLU TBIO AMED EAID EAGR SENV XW
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE FOR ETHIOPIA


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Post's inter-agency Avian Influenza Committee met
March 29 to review the situation in Ethiopia with respect to a
possible outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the
country. While HPAI has been confirmed in several states bordering
Ethiopia (Sudan and Djibouti), there is no evidence of HPAI in
Ethiopia. Ethiopia remains at risk for HPAI, but risk of
transmission may not be as high as originally stated, largely
because Ethiopia has few large-scale poultry farms, and there is no
cross-border movement of poultry into Ethiopia. USAID, CDC, FAO,
WHO, and DFID continue to work with the Ethiopian government to
prepare for and respond to potential future AI outbreaks, through
supporting surveillance, prevention, and training activities. The
GOE's recent revamping of its National Task Force for the Prevention
and Control of Avian Influenza highlight that addressing other
emerging zoonotic/epizootic diseases, such as Rift Valley Fever
(which has occurred in neighboring Kenya and Somalia), may be a
greater immediate concern for Ethiopian authorities. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Emboffs, CDC, and USAID representatives reviewed the HPAI
situation in Africa at Post's March 29 AI Committee meeting chaired
by DCM. USAID highlighted that HPAI has been confirmed in Sudan,
Djibouti, Egypt and Nigeria. While Ethiopia remains at risk for
HPAI, risk of transmission may not be as high as originally stated,
largely because Ethiopia has few large-scale poultry farms, and most
families have only 6-12 chickens on their compounds. Compounds in
rural areas also tend to be widely dispersed with little
inter-mixing of poultry from household to household. Additionally,
and perhaps most important, there is no cross-border movement of
poultry into Ethiopia.

----------------------------------
GOE CONDUCTING ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE
----------------------------------

3. (U) The Ethiopian government, through assistance from FAO, is
conducting active surveillance of farms (both household and poultry
production) around the country, with a particular focus on border
areas with Sudan and Djibouti. In mid-March 2007, samples collected
from a poultry disease outbreak in Ethiopia's western
Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State were submitted to the National
Animal Health Research Center (NAHRC). Preliminary results indicate
negative findings for HPAI, although replicate samples were sent to
Weibridge, UK, for further analysis.

4. (U) Surveillance teams from the FAO and the GOE's Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD) are deployed throughout
the country. In March, a team from Dire Dawa Veterinary Laboratory
conducted active AI disease surveillance by administrating
structured questionnaires in Dire Dawa Provisional Administrative
Council, Harari Region; and in Shinile and Erer districts, of the
Somali Region. The team visited 3 small-scale poultry farms and
interviewed 84 farmers, none of whom reported observing any unusual
mass die-offs or illnesses in either domestic or wild birds in the
past 60 days. The team also collected information about livestock
populations, veterinary infrastructure, and manpower. Surveillance
teams are also briefing communities on AI risks and the need to
report any bird diseases immediately to nearby agriculture offices
or other designated authorities.

5. (U) Ethiopia's National Task Force for the Prevention and Control
of Avian and Human Influenza, was recently revamped to address other
emerging zoonotic/epizootic diseases such as Rift Valley Fever
(RVF), and is now called the Epizootic Control Coordinating
Committee. Because of the occurrence of RVF in neighboring Kenya
and Somalia, Ethiopia is on the alert to prevent RVF and to minimize
its impact in case of possible introduction. Thus far, there are no
indications that RVF has been found in Ethiopia. A RVF contingency
plan has been drafted and communication work is underway as part of
the Government's effort to raise the level of public awareness to
protect communities and livestock from this disease.

-------------------------------------
TRAINING AND COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGNS
-------------------------------------

6. (U) Communication campaigns addressing the prevention and
management of AI are underway throughout Ethiopia. Recently, in the
Oromia Region, an estimated 393,000 people received basic avian
influenza information over a one-week period. Messages covered 52
districts in nine zones of the region, and focused on students,

ADDIS ABAB 00001042 002 OF 002


farmers, animal and human health professionals, and educators. Over
300 Tigray residents received training recently, which will enable
them to conduct communication campaigns throughout the region.
Other communication campaigns are being conducted in the Southern
Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR);
Benishangul-Gumuz; and Somali regions. To ensure responsible
reporting on AI in Ethiopia, Embassy PAO sent a journalist from the
Addis Ababa-based Amharic-language newspaper "Addis Admas" to a
Voice of America training seminar on this subject, which took place
in Nairobi the week of April 2.

7. (U) In January 2007, training on poultry bio-security, culling
and vaccination was conducted at the Jijiga Regional Veterinary
Laboratory for 16 new animal health technicians (AHT) from the
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Jijiga Campus), selected from
different Somali Region districts. Training included practical
sessions on intra-muscular and subcutaneous vaccination techniques,
as well as on culling and post-mortem procedures. Trainees also
received AI posters and brochures.

-------------------------------------
USAID AND CDC SUPPORT HEALTH MINISTRY
-------------------------------------

8. (U) USAID support to WHO has targeted the prevention of a human
outbreak of HPAI in Ethiopia. WHO has been working with the
Ministry of Health to train health workers on AI detection and case
management. WHO protocols for specimen testing, collection,
transport and shipping have been adapted for Ethiopia, and are being
used to train laboratory technicians at the Ethiopian Health and
Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI). WHO is also strengthening the
laboratory network in the country, and is supporting key regional
labs and their linkages to EHNRI.

9. (U) CDC is working with the Ministry of Health and is
supporting the secondment of two advisors to the MOH Emergency
Operations Center. In addition, CDC has supported the revision and
finalization of the AI training of trainer materials targeting
Emergency Operations Center staff at the regional level, as well as
human health surveillance and outbreak investigation teams. CDC
also supplied equipment for the AI lab at EHNRI.

10. (U) Mission points of contact are: Judith Robb-McCord,
USAID/Ethiopia Health Officer (251-11-551-88) and Carolyn Greene,
CDC/Ethiopia Deputy Director for programs (251-11-4669566).

YAMAMOTO

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