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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Control Program

AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU) CONTROL PROGRAM
Avian influenza (AI) is a highly infectious disease of birds caused by type A strain of the influenza virus. The virus is believed to affect all types of birds, although the severity varies depending on its pathogenicity.
The AI type H5N1 outbreak which resurfaced in mid-2003 in South-East Asia is the largest epizootic infectious disease currently affecting many countries globally.

Nigeria was the first country to report human cases of A/H5N1 in the West African Region one year after the first A(H5N1) outbreak in poultry was reported in the country.
The only human case of Avian Influenza in Nigeria was detected in Lagos State in January 2007. It was officially reported on the 17th of February, 2007. By the end of year 2006, twenty-six (26) farms had been affected by Avian flu in Lagos State.

The Lagos state Government has taken bold steps to prevent such occurrence in the future by constituting a State Avian Influenza Technical Committee comprising of three line Ministries ; Health, Agriculture, Information and directing a joint surveillance team made up of the three Ministries to embark on ¡§active surveillance¡¨ of all public and private poultry farms and market places.

The Ministry of Health on its part has done the following:
• Intensified awareness campaign against avian flu through the development of behavioral change communication materials. Posters and handbills have been distributed and pasted in poultry farms and market places within the state. Held TV/Talk shows, granted press interview and released publications.
• Write up fact sheets on bird Flu have been produced and circulated to all public health facilities.
• Conducted continuing Medical Education Seminars on bird flu for healthcare workers in the state. Also clinicians from the General hospitals have been trained on Avian Influenza.
• Training of Healthcare workers in the eight LGAs where affected farms are located on recognition and reporting of Avian Influenza and other notifiable diseases.
• Enhanced skills in the management of emergencies through capacity building of healthcare providers.
• Established and capacitated ¡§Surveillance¡¨ teams for bird flu on daily basis in the state.
• Upgrading of the Infectious disease hospital (IDH) Isolation ward (with provision of equipment, consumables and protective gadgets) to be able to handle any Avian Influenza Emergency.
• Weekly review meeting of the State Avian Influenza Technical Committee to share information and field findings and to discuss constraints and way forward.
• Surveillance teams have visited over a hundred sites (comprising poultry farms, markets, fast food outlets and hospitals.
• Complaints and information from the general public are being attended to and acted upon.
YEARLY ACTIVITIES OF THE AVIAN INFLUENZA CONTROL PROGRAM
The following activities were carried out in year 2006
Trainings
• Conducted continuing Medical Education Seminars on bird flu for healthcare workers in the state. Also clinicians from the General hospitals have been trained on Avian Influenza.
• Training of Healthcare workers in the eight LGAs where affected farms are located on recognition and reporting of Avian Influenza and other notifiable diseases.
• Enhanced skills in the management of emergencies through capacity building of healthcare providers.
• Trained over healthcare workers from LGAs on Avian influenza.

Surveillance.

• Established and capacitated ¡§Surveillance¡¨ teams for bird flu on daily basis in the state.
• Surveillance teams visited over a hundred sites (comprising poultry farms, markets, fast food outlets and hospitals).

Public enlightenment/ Awareness.
• Intensified awareness campaign against avian flu through the development of behavioral change communication materials. Posters and handbills have been distributed and pasted in poultry farms and market places within the state. Held TV/Talk shows, granted press interview and released publications.
• Write up fact sheets on bird Flu have been produced and circulated to all public health facilities.

Case management
• Upgrading of the Infectious disease hospital (IDH) Isolation ward (with provision of equipment, consumables and protective gadgets) to be able to handle any Avian Influenza Emergency.

Monitoring and Evaluation.
• Weekly review meeting of the State Avian Influenza Technical Committee to share information and field findings and to discuss constraints and way forward.
• Complaints and information from the general public attended to and acted upon.

In year 2007, the following activities were carried out:

Trainings

– Sensitization workshop on AI for Health workers at the main auditorium Alausa organized by LSMOH. 393 Health workers from 91 hospitals (public and private) sensitized on Avian Influenza.

– Training of State Rapid response team (from Health, Information and Agriculture) on rapid response to Avian Influenza at the conference room Alausa. 31 healthcare workers sensitized on AI.

– Training of 10 Healthcare workers each from LASUTH and IDH on rapid response to Avian Influenza. 19 officers trained.

– Training of LGA Rapid response team (from Health) on rapid response to Avian Influenza. 115 officers trained.
Surveillance.

– Thoroughly investigated a suspected case of Avian influenza in Lagos State. First human case of Avian Influenza in Nigeria confirmed in Lagos State.

– Public enlightenment on AI. Attended a Radio talk show on Eko F.M. on Avian Influenza.

– Investigated a suspected death due to Avian Influenza in Massey street children hospital, Lagos Island. Samples negative.

– Investigated a 49 year old man whose150 chickens died and who presented with fever, cough and contact with poultry. Also, son had fever but felt better, Samples taken from the Man. Samples negative.

– Responded to an emergency call for a suspected case of human AI with flu- like symptoms and the history of contact with poultry in Agbara. Sample negative.

– Investigated suspected case of AI seen at LUTH. Samples negative.

– Continuous Intensified (daily) active surveillance for bird flu involving SMOH, SMOI, SMOA. Over 76 farms/eateries/ markets and AI suspects visited in the year.
Public enlightenment/ Awareness.

– Printed AI IEC materials (posters, handbills and handbooks). AI IEC materials distributed and utilized for public enlightenment campaigns.
Collaboration with partners

– Held bi-weekly meetings of the AI technical committee. 14 meetings held till July 2007. Meetings recommenced in December.

– Participated in UNICEF/LSMOI@S sensitization meetings for heads of communities, religious bodies and Teachers at Ikeja LGA and Oshodi/ Isolo LGAs respectively.
Case management
• 2 respirators, 2 oxygen cylinders with ga and consumables purchased for the designated Isolation ward.
Monitoring and Evaluation.
• Bi-monthly and later monthly review meeting of the State Avian Influenza Technical Committee held to share information and field findings and to discuss constraints and way forward.
• Bi-monthly review meeting of the rapid response team instituted.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF THE AVIAN FLU CONTROL PROGRAM

-Reduction in number of Avian Influenza poultry outbreaks in Farms from 26 in year 2006 to 8 in 2007.

– Farmers are more aware and are practicing biosecurity measures to prevent Avian Flu in their farms. They are also aware (through health education conducted during surveillance activities) of the signs and symptoms of Avian Influenza in Humans and where to report to.

– Increased index of suspicion of Avian Influenza by Medical/ healthcare workers as a result of trainings. 1 case investigated in 2006 compared with 7 suspected cases in 2007.

-Designated Isolation ward in Mainland Hospital more capacitated to handle AI outbreaks. Healthworkers trained and ward equipped and stock

– General Public more aware of the birdflu situation via mass media messages, posters and handbills on Avian influenza. Reduced scare in year 2007 compared to 2006.

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