Dominica conducted Avian Influenza field simulation exercise

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Roseau, 31 July 2015

The Dominica Poultry Association in close partnership with the Livestock Development Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Office of the Disaster Management and the Food and Agriculture Organization held a two-day Avian Influenza Simulation Exercise to test the country’s preparedness and reactive capacity to Avian Influenza given the elevated threat presented by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N2 virus currently circulating in wild birds in North America. The outbreaks in the USA had resulted in the destruction of over 49.5 million chicken and turkeys across 22 states at an expense of US$3.3 billion.  

Dominica’s two-day Avian Influenza simulation exercise began Wednesday July 29th 2015 with a full day of informative presentations and group work on Dominica’s Avian Influenza preparedness and emergency manual. Day two, Thursday 30th July 2015 was the field simulation where five field groups (group 1-Outbreak Investigation; group 2- Surveillance; group 3- Laboratory; group 4- Quarantine & group 5- Depopulation, Disposal and Decontamination) were dispatched to two poultry layer farms and the respective disease control areas near Roseau, the capital. There was a 6th group- Farmers - whose task was to review and adapt CaribVET’s biosecurity checklist (first draft finalized in Barbados, July 9th 2015) to Dominica’s situation.

Participants included: numerous veterinary, extension and forestry officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, including the Director and Chief Veterinary Officer; private veterinarians; poultry farmers; Environmental Health officers, Fire officers, the USNS Comfort veterinary team, Port Authority, Office of Disaster Management personnel, IICA, and representation from various media houses.

Key outcomes of the two-day simulation were as follows:

- The Avian Influenza Emergency and Preparedness Manual

  • Immediate upgrade regarding current information is needed
  • Some re-organisation of the manual to enhance user friendly application

 

- The field Simulation

  • Ensure continuous training of all personnel
  • Adequate supply and type of all resources
  • Transportation allocation
  • Strengthen laboratory capability for AGID
  • Determine a mean of export of samples to a regional / reference laboratory since there seem to be an issue with export of samples by the main courier service

 

Additional outcomes were i) consideration on the impact on the island’s national and endangered Sisserou parrot (Amazona Imperialis), ii) the impact on tourism as many national trails pass through farms and iii) the impact on city life as the capital can easily fall within the disease control zones.

To conclude, it was clear that Dominica’s first response contingent exhibited great enthusiasm and team spirit during the simulation and provided with the necessary training and resources would do Dominica proud in an emergency response.

 

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