La resiliencia
Stopping avian influenza at source in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Stopping avian influenza at source in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza were confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June 2017. Rapid deployment of specialist equipment and resources from FAO’s emergency equipment stockpile was instrumental in bringing the outbreak under control and reducing its impact.

Providing diagnostic tests allowed animal health workers to accurately identify disease samples in both the laboratory and the field, aiding faster outbreak investigation. Supplying personal protective kits ensured biosafety, helping to prevent accidental infection or disease spread. Providing logistical and technical support from trained professionals ensured biosecurity, effective action and coordination.

This early response to the outbreak resulted in rapid elimination of the disease in the poultry population and contained the outbreak in small areas. Avian influenza has a high mortality rate, so limiting the number of infected birds will have averted huge production losses, protecting the livelihoods of poor farmers as well as national food security.

Spread of the disease into neighbouring countries was prevented, the risk of spill over into humans was reduced, and FAO’s development work in the country continued.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across Africa, FAO contributes to national control and eradication plans, helps to develop qualitative risk assessments for avian influenza viruses and provides specialist training. In 2017, FAO trained more than 300 animal health workers in 14 African countries in biosafety and biosecurity, disease control measures, outbreak investigation and diagnosis, and crisis communication.

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