FAO in Egypt

Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) - Egypt

Stamping out avian flu in Egypt

From biosecurity labs to 3D animations, increased capacity and communication improve response to outbreaks

When avian influenza – known informally as avian or bird flu – struck Egypt in 2006, it led to significant economic losses, impacting birds and people alike. The highly infectious disease in some forms can lead to mass death in domesticated and wild bird species, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and quails. It can also spill over to people through direct or indirect contact with infected birds and cause severe illness or death. [Arabic Version]

Success stories

Since 2007, several international and national training courses were provided to the lab staff to enable them efficient detection. All Laboratory reagents and consumables including those required for real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), isolation, serology and gene sequencing were purchased and delivered to NLQP annually. Support were also provided to equip six satellite NLQP laboratories result in early detection.

Within the framework of USAID funded project entitled “Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) in Egypt, and as part of its effort to strengthen the national capacity for H5N1 surveillance in Egypt, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in close collaboration with the International Livestock research Institute (ILRI) started a participatory disease surveillance (PDS) program in 2008.

During 2014/2015, an unprecedented upsurge of H5N1 High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) human cases had been recorded in Egypt. Based on data flow from Ministry of Health, 35% of H5 HPAI of these human cases were linked directly or indirectly with traditional practices of slaughtering birds at household sector. Slaughter of infected poultry produces airborne virus in large droplets and aerosols, which was identified as risk for animal and human infections with H5N1 HPAI viruses. A national outreach campaign was designed and applied for raising the public awareness for few but key effective and protective slaughter procedures represented in containment of the immediately slaughtered bird in a covered domestic container (Halla) until the bird death struggle is totally completed.

TAD-Info module established and operationalized through USAID-funded projects to strengthen the national capacity for H5N1 epidemio-surveillance epidemiological networking between GOVS and local veterinary services.

Following the reported A/H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in many countries; since October 2016, FAO, through its dedicated Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Unit in Egypt and largely by grants from USAID, has provided: (i) considerable technical and capacity-strengthening support to the Ministry of Agriculture and land Reclamation-GOVS to intensify the AI surveillance activities in domestic birds around flyway of migratory birds and (ii) support to improve the laboratory capabilities for the detection of incursion of any emerging sub-type.