Proposed activities of Center for disease control

Proposed activities of Center for disease control and prevention for the Surveillance of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Abkhazia
1. Organizing sample collection for fall 2007, winter 2007-2008, spring 2008
• Shorebirds (live captured birds; target = 100) via collaboration with Health Department of de-facto Abkhazian Government and Government of Republic of Georgia
• Ducks, geese, quails, doves, pigeons, woodcocks, snipes, coots and others (hunter killed birds; target = 400) via collection at hunter-check stations
2. Conducting opportunistic surveillance (dead birds submitted for necropsy)
Assistant Wildlife Veterinarian
Abkhazia Game and Fish Department
Abkhazia  Veterinary Laboratory
Health departmnet
There is one major wild bird migratory flyways in the Abkhazia-the Black Sea coast. The majority of Abkhazia is located in the Center of flyway, with a small portion of the southwestern part of the province. Teams should be established for each flyway to increase Center’s coordination and participation in monitoring, data evaluation, research, habitat protection, management, and regulation setting for migratory game birds in Abkhazia.
Using the “Interagency Strategic Plan for Avian Influenza Surveillance in Wild Birds” as a guide, each team must identify bird species of interest for avian influenza sampling in their region. Under this framework, Center will develop a specific list of species to sample within Abkhazia. Starting this fall, live birds will be captured and sampled for avian influenza. After the birds are examined and cloacal swabs are taken, the birds will be released. Capture techniques for live sampling will include, but not be limited to, rocket/cannon nets, mist nets and swim-in traps. Environmental samples (fresh feces) and samples from dead birds collected from morbidity/mortality events and hunter check stations will supplement the live bird samples. Samples will be collected at varying times and locations throughout the state, with approximately 20% of the samples collected from resident or summering birds during October, November, December, January, February, March and the remaining 80% collected during the fall and winter from migratory or wintering bird populations. The goal is to collect a total of 1,000 samples in Abkhazia. Center will coordinate sample collections with the Health Department and Department of Fish and Game to maximize the distribution of sampling locations and avoid over sampling and duplication of effort.
Abkhazia Livestock Board
At this time we believe the risk is low that highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 will be introduced to Abkhazia in the near future if will be no attention in this growing problem.
All domestic birds must have a certificate of veterinary health inspection to enter Abkhazia. It is the policy of the Georgia state veterinarian not to allow birds to be imported from areas with H5N1. Abkhazia does not have many domestic poultry. Abkhazia does have backyard owners and game bird farms. We also believe that the illegal tourism industry, may pose threat to world. We recognize that some birds are imported illegally and are making efforts to ensure our import requirements are met.
The Center, in conjunction with de-facto government of Abkhazia  and Georgian authorities, is planning on doing surveillance of our largest bird industries this fall. We will be testing birds from privately owned game bird farms to be sure they are free of the disease. We will also be testing growers who grow eggs for the game bird industry as well as those who raise show and display species.
Personnel at the Abkhazian Veterinary Station will shortly (October 2007) be trained to do the official USDA test for highly pathogenic avian influenza. We currently run an unofficial but validated real-time polymerase chain reaction assay (PCR), but need to be able to do the official USDA assay.
RT-PCR testing for H5 and H7 types of avian influenza will be done in the IEPT's virology unit, supervised by Dr. Dmitri Kipiani. In 2007-2008, the Center anticipates receiving samples for testing from three sources:
- Approximately 1,000 samples will be submitted by our team, primarily from waterfowl and shore birds, as part of a funded surveillance effort.
- Approximately 500 samples from wild birds, submitted by the other team. Any post-mortem examinations will be done by trained specialist. PCR testing will be done in the virology section of the IEPT.
- Other samples, such as from poultry and from wild birds found by members of the public who may want them tested for highly pathogenic avian influenza. The poultry industry in Abkhazia is small. We do not anticipate receiving many samples from the back-yard poultry industry.
Samples from any birds that test positive for H5 or H7 strains of avian influenza will be submitted the third fourth team, and confirmatory testing and typing will be done.
At this time the Department of Health in Abkhazia Institute is monitoring the impact of avian influenza on human health worldwide closely. While avian influenza is currently not a human health risk, should it become so the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will make recommendations on how people can reduce their risk of acquiring the disease. The Center is will be directly involved in surveillance of birds looking for avian influenza.
The Center is actively developing public health strategies to respond to a human influenza pandemic virus.
Center is also planning a public educational campaign to explain to the public the difference between pandemic influenza and avian influenza. It will primarily focus on pandemic influenza information for the public. This effort will begin the first part of November 2007.
The Center will also develop a national response document to provide refuges with the capabilities, opportunities, and resources for developing or updating disease control plans and for implementing disease responses for H5N1 if necessary.
Dr. Ramaz Mitaishvili
Ph: 818- 557-6300
995 (32) 42- 1883 ext. 22658
Fax: 818- 557- 6300
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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