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Epidemiology of avian influenza in Africa (EPIAAF) survey : Midterm report LoA PR 37212 between FAO and CIRAD, May 2008

Molia S. (ed.). 2008. Montpellier : CIRAD, 284 p..

The objective of the EPIAAF (Epidemiology of Avian Influenza in AFrica) survey is to better understand the epidemiology of HPAI in Africa by assessing risk factors linked to the introduction, diffusion and persistence of HPAI outbreak foci in seven infected countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan). The survey officially started in mid-November 2007, after CIRAD and FAO met in Paris in October 2007 to finalize the letter of agreement. Prior to this, a meeting had been organized in Cairo in April 2007 to share with beneficiary countries the survey proposal and to take into account their expectations. A technical meeting was then organised in London and a protocol describing the methodology and activities of the survey was written by the following month within the partner scientific institutions (FAO, CIRAD, ULB, FLI, IZSVe and RVC). Activities of the survey were slightly delayed by the longer than expected recruitment process for the national survey consultants (NSC). The EPIAAF preparation workshop for field work and data collection was therefore organised in February 2008 in Bamako, Mali, and enabled to explain, through presentations, group discussions, and a handson training session, what was expected from each participant, NSCs and international experts. Field investigation missions were successfully conducted in six countries (Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan) between February 23 and April 17, 2008, by teams composed of two international experts, the NSCs, and assistants from the veterinary services. Field investigations in Cameroun were postponed because of civil disturbance in the country when the team of international experts arrived, and are due to finish around May 15. During these six field missions, investigations were conducted in 38 different areas, including 19 with records of H5N1 HPAI (former or current) outbreak ("case" sites) and 19 considered not to have been infected by H5N1 HPAI ("control" sites). A total of 50 questionnaires were filled gathering information on risk factors for the villages and/or commercial farms investigated. Paired biological samples (tracheal swabs, cloacal swabs, and blood samples) were also collected from a total number of 3 334 birds, among which 78% chicken, 14% ducks, and 8% belonging to other poultry species. One set of samples was kept for the national veterinary diagnostic laboratory and the other one shipped to the OIE/FAO reference laboratory at IZSVe Padova. In some cases, not enough serum was collected for both laboratories and priority was given to the IZSVe Padova (with the exception of Nigeria). Batches of samples from the six countries have all been successfully received in Padova (shipment arrangements are in progress for Cameroun) and diagnostic tests (realtime PCR for swab samples, with confirmation by virus isolation for positive; IHA for sera, with confirmation by AGID for positive) totally completed for Burkina Faso and partially completed for Côte d'Ivoire and Niger. No evidence of HPAI H5N1 circulation has so far been detected. Two databases (together with their user¿s manuals) have been developed to store information collected by the NSC regarding risk factors at the national level ("National Survey database") and information collected by the field investigation teams on risk factors at the field investigation sites ("Village Survey database"). The database to store the laboratory results produced by IZSVe Padova is currently under construction and will be completed by May 31. Different kinds of difficulties were encountered in the implementation of the abovementionned activities including a too limited time in between the Bamako meeting and the beginning of field missions to adequately prepare field work, countless obstacles in the shipment of equipment to Africa and of samples from Africa to IZSVe Padova, and alterations to the original protocol because of field issues (civil disturbance, ...

Mots-clés : influenzavirus aviaire; Épidémiologie; grippe aviaire; Égypte; niger; nigéria; soudan; burkina faso; côte d'ivoire

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