Tanzania, with the support of USAID and the German Technical Development Agency (GTZ), has stepped up surveillance of migratory birds following the first confirmed case of avian influenza, subtype H5N1, in Nigerian poultry. Three to five million birds have already been sighted in Tanzania during their annual migration southwards from Asia and central Europe, where they may have been in contact with birds carrying the virus. Because migration is an ongoing, cyclical process, the birds flying back up north in the spring may infect birds in Europe and birds coming back in the fall may infect birds in Africa. Villagers who raise free-range poultry are easily exposed to droppings from migrating wild aquatic and shore birds. Tanzania has established a comprehensive surveillance programme that will allow health and veterinary officials to launch effective and appropriate disease prevention and control measures quickly in case of an outbreak. Wild bird surveillance is currently being conducted by the Tanzania Bird Atlas Project, with oversight from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.” – Guardian.

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