Gabon bans Cameroon poultry over bird flu scare

By Ndi Egene | Africa Review June 1, 2016

Authorities in Gabon that shares a leaky border with Cameroon have banned the entry into the country of all poultry and pig products from the latter.

The Gabonese government’s move comes days after confirmation of an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus on a poultry farm in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé.

In a statement Monday, Gabon’s Fisheries and Livestock minister Gabriel Tchango said: “Poultry products from Cameroon entering the country by any means are formally banned as a precaution.”

The poultry

The prohibition also includes pet and wild birds, as well as pigs and pork from the neighbouring country.

Gabon imports 98 per cent of the poultry sold on its market, according to local media reports.

The decision is part of “measures to spare people the pangs of a new outbreak” the statement said.

All carcasses

Cameroon’s National Veterinary Laboratory (LANAVET) confirmed the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus strain killed 15,000 birds in the government-owned Mvog-Betsi poultry complex last week. The complex hosted 33,000 fowls.

The government slaughtered the remaining birds on the farm and incinerated all carcasses to prevent further contamination.

Infected zone

It also banned chicken sale in Yaoundé that has been officially declared “infected zone of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus” and the neighbouring towns.

The Cameroon Poultry Interprofessional Organisation (IPAVIC) had announced an increase in chicken production from 45 million in 2015 to over 50 million this year.

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