An outbreak of a serious and highly contagious bird disease has been identified in two specific chicken flocks in Half Tree Hollow and New Ground.  ANRD Veterinary Service is working with a major UK laboratory to diagnose the disease. A broad range of samples has been taken, to leave on the next RMS voyage – world experts will be working on this case for St Helena.

An emergency Quarantine Order was put in place yesterday under the Animals (Diseases) Regulations.  It has now been necessary to extend Quarantine at both properties lasting for a total of eight weeks, dating from today.

Culling of poultry has now taken place at both premises as well as disinfection of affected areas.

Notices have been posted at the two premises and disinfectant points established.

ANRD believes there are no human health issues relating to this specific disease.  But the disease is highly contagious and can easily be spread from one bird to another. In order to help stop the spread of this deadly disease and save St Helena’s poultry stock, it is vital that poultry keepers follow the simple measures below:

STOP THE SPREAD

  •  Wherever practical, try to keep your poultry inside the coop
  • Even if your set-up means you are unable to do this, keep all feed and water inside the coop
  • Do your best to exclude wild birds by blocking holes and using netting
  • Set up a footbath such as a bucket or washing up bowl filled with disinfectant or bleach at the entrance to the coop. Dip your feet on the way in and on the way out – to create a barrier to germs
  • Have a dedicated set of boots and overalls for your poultry coop which never leave your premises
  • Wash your hands after visiting the chickens
  • Discourage visitors to your coop
  • And report any unusual deaths or symptoms to the Veterinary Service at ANRD on tel. 24724.  Symptoms in chickens may include all or some of:

o   Open mouth breathing

o   Coughing and sneezing

o   Discharge from the eyes and nostrils

o   Blackening of combs and wattles

o   Sudden egg drop, combined with pale, paper-thin egg shells

o   Severe yellow and watery diarrhoea

Any enquiries can be made to the Senior Veterinary Officer at ANRD on tel. 24724 or email: joe-hollins@enrd.gov.sh

SHG

22 August 2014

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