Zambia bans poultry imports to curb bird flu

The Zambian government banned the import of live birds and other poultry products from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and all countries which have recorded outbreaks of bird flu.

Livestock and Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo urged poultry farmers to practice good hygiene and report bird illnesses to veterinary officials.

“The ban is part of a strong multi-sectoral nationwide response to curb the outbreak of the highly contagious bird disease,” said Katambo.

He warned that violating the ban will result in prosecution.

Pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8), commonly known as bird flu, is highly contagious among bids, and has recently spread to a number of countries in the region. It also affects animals and can completely decimate the bird population of a country. There is no evidence of transmission among humans. Prevention is done through surveillance outbreak preparedness and pandemic planning.

Katambo said the prevention measures, coupled by surveillance which was put in place, are adequate to avoid the risks associated with bird flu.

On possible shortages arising from the ban, Katambo said Zambia is self-sufficient in poultry.

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