By Reem Tombokti.
Tripoli, 22 April 2013:
As vets struggle to control the outbreak of Newcastle Disease, a highly-contagious poultry virus, and there . . .[restrict]have been reports of carcasses of infected birds being dumped by the roadside, the government is stepping up measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
“We are printing flyers, leaflets and posters to raise awareness of the disease among both farmers and consumers,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Agriculture, Kamel Issa, told the Libya Herald today.
The Ministry has closed a number of affected premises, some of which may remain shut for several months. Yesterday, farms in the Zahra area near Tripoli were cleansed and sterilised.
The outbreak, which started about 20 days ago, has left a large number of poultry dead. It is causing financial hardship amongst farmers and has had a knock-on effect on the price and availability of chicken.
It is not yet clear exactly how many birds have died from Newcastle Disease, nor how many farms have been affected, Issa said.
Newcastle Disease is usually transmitted by direct contact with diseased or carrier birds, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The virus can, however, also be transmitted through contact with contaminated food, water, equipment or even human clothing.
Humans are only rarely affected by Newcastle Disease although, if transmitted, it can cause flu-like symptoms and mild conjunctivitis.
The Minister of Agriculture met with a number of poultry farmers yesterday in Tripoli to discuss the impact of Newcastle Disease on Libyan poultry. [/restrict]