security in Burundi’s Kayanza province is under threat because of an
untreatable disease that has killed more than 1,000 chickens in one
commune, according to a senior official.
"The disease has also
been reported in other parts of the country but total numbers of dead
chickens are not [yet] available," the director of the Animal Health
Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Stockbreeding, Pierre
Bukuru, told IRIN.
"With the pandemic among the chickens, the
population will face a significant lack of animal proteins and many
people will suffer from the shortage, as chicken is widely raised and
consumed in Burundi," he added.
Bukuru said the illness, which has similar symptoms to Newcastle Disease, was affecting the economic lives of people raising chickens or trading in meat and eggs.
"Egg production has dropped by 80 percent," he said.
He added that the meat of infected chickens did not pose a threat to human health as long as it was well-cooked.
And although the disease itself can be passed on to humans, the only effects are mild conjunctivitis.
tests were being carried out to determine the precise identity of the
disease, although he ruled out the possibility of it being avian
"Bird flu has not yet reached Burundi up to now," Bukuru said.
treatment is available for the disease, and although chicks can be
vaccinated, doing so would be impractical in a country where most
poultry is kept by individual households.