Preparing for potential avian influenza outbreaks in Mali and Senegal

Preparing for potential avian influenza outbreaks in Mali and Senegal

15/11/2018

The threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) infection is present in Mali and Senegal. To prepare for the emergence of potential HPAI outbreaks, FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), carried out cross-border simulation exercises in both countries to develop their contingency plans and surveillance programmes.

Avian influenza H5N1 is one of the animal diseases that causes the most severe damage to the poultry industry in West and Central Africa. Because of its zoonotic nature, meaning transmission to humans is possible, the presence of this disease places an enormous risk on public health in the countries of the region.

In the last three years, new outbreaks due to H5N1 and/or H5N8 strains of the virus have been reported in six countries of the region. Although Mali and Senegal have not recorded any cases of HPAI infection, the threat is present due to the affected neighbouring countries. Against this background, under the framework of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), FAO supported Mali and Senegal to carry out cross-border simulation exercises in May 2018. Joining forces will help to improve capacity to prevent and respond to outbreaks of HPAI in the border communes of Kidira in Senegal and Diboli in Mali.