(CMR) Five possible positive results of Avian Influenza (bird flu) have been detected in poultry in Grand Cayman as of Monday, January 9.
As part of its routine surveillance activities for the possible introduction of Avian Influenza into the local poultry population, the Department of Agriculture veterinary staff conducts preliminary rapid testing of all domestic poultry that have died of possible respiratory illnesses.
Following initial and subsequent testing of additional birds in one flock, five possible positive results were detected.
The Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure said further samples have been collected in accordance with standard international guidelines for suspect cases of Avian Influenza and are being sent to an international reference laboratory in the United States for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing.
PCR testing is the globally accepted method for confirming the presence or absence of this viral disease.
While awaiting test results, the Department is advising local poultry farmers to enhance their on-farm biosecurity protocols and to restrict access to their poultry facilities.
Pending PCR test results in accordance with the World Organization for Animal Health’s guidelines for eradication and management of Avian Influenza and to protect the local poultry population from the possible introduction and spread of this disease, the flock in question was humanely euthanized and the area placed under quarantine restrictions.
According to the World Organization of Animal Health, the transmission of Avian Influenza from birds to humans is rare and sporadic and happens in a specific context. People who are in close and repeated contact with infected birds or heavily contaminated environments are at risk for acquiring Avian Influenza.