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      Biosecurity measures to reduce influenza infections in military barracks in Ghana


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          Military barracks in Ghana have backyard poultry populations but the methods used here involve low biosecurity measures and high risk zoonosis such as avian influenza A viruses or Newcastle disease. We assessed biosecurity measures intended to minimize the risk of influenza virus infection among troops and poultry keepers in military barracks.


          We educated troops and used a questionnaire to collect information on animal populations and handling practices from 168 individuals within 203 households in military barracks. Cloacal and tracheal samples were taken from 892 healthy domestic and domesticated wild birds, 91 sick birds and 6 water samples for analysis using molecular techniques for the detection of influenza A virus. Of the 1090 participants educated and 168 that responded to a questionnaire, 818 (75%) and 129 (76.8%) respectively have heard of pandemic avian influenza and the risks associated with its infection. Even though no evidence of the presence of avian influenza infection was found in the 985 birds sampled, only 19.5% of responders indicated they disinfect their coops regularly and 28% wash their hands after handling their birds. Vaccination of birds and use of personal protective clothing while handling the birds were low putting the people at risk.


          Though some efforts have been made to improve biosecurity practices, interventions that help to protect the poultry flock from direct contact have to be practiced. Basic hygiene like washing of hands with soap and running water and regular cleaning of chicken coops are needed to prevent the spread of diseases among birds and between birds and humans.

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          Characterization of an avian influenza A (H5N1) virus isolated from a child with a fatal respiratory illness.

          An avian H5N1 influenza A virus (A/Hong Kong/156/97) was isolated from a tracheal aspirate obtained from a 3-year-old child in Hong Kong with a fatal illness consistent with influenza. Serologic analysis indicated the presence of an H5 hemagglutinin. All eight RNA segments were derived from an avian influenza A virus. The hemagglutinin contained multiple basic amino acids adjacent to the cleavage site, a feature characteristic of highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses. The virus caused 87.5 to 100 percent mortality in experimentally inoculated White Plymouth Rock and White Leghorn chickens. These results may have implications for global influenza surveillance and planning for pandemic influenza.
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            A pandemic warning?

            Introduction of new influenza type-A viruses, carrying different combinations of the viral envelope glycoproteins haemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N), have led to three major pandemics of influenza in humans this century. Phylogenetic evidence suggests that these viruses have originated from avian influenza A viruses, either unchanged or after reassortment with humaninfluenza A viruses. In aquatic birds, all of the known H and N antigenic varieties (15 varieties carry H, nine carry N envelope glycoproteins) apparently circulate in a genetically conserved fashion. Viruses carrying the H1N1, H2N2 and H3N2 combinations were responsible for the Spanish flu of 1918, the Asian flu in 1957 and Hong Kong flu in 1968, respectively 1 . An influenza A virus of the H5N1 subtype has now been identified in a human patient, raising discussions about its potential to spark a new human influenza pandemic.
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              Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1): Pathways of Exposure at the Animal‐Human Interface, a Systematic Review

              Background The threat posed by highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 viruses to humans remains significant, given the continued occurrence of sporadic human cases (499 human cases in 15 countries) with a high case fatality rate (approximately 60%), the endemicity in poultry populations in several countries, and the potential for reassortment with the newly emerging 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain. Therefore, we review risk factors for H5N1 infection in humans. Methods and Findings Several epidemiologic studies have evaluated the risk factors associated with increased risk of H5N1 infection among humans who were exposed to H5N1 viruses. Our review shows that most H5N1 cases are attributed to exposure to sick poultry. Most cases are sporadic, while occasional limited human-to-human transmission occurs. The most commonly identified factors associated with H5N1 virus infection included exposure through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids of infected poultry via food preparation practices; touching and caring for infected poultry; consuming uncooked poultry products; exposure to H5N1 via swimming or bathing in potentially virus laden ponds; and exposure to H5N1 at live bird markets. Conclusions Research has demonstrated that despite frequent and widespread contact with poultry, transmission of the H5N1 virus from poultry to humans is rare. Available research has identified several risk factors that may be associated with infection including close direct contact with poultry and transmission via the environment. However, several important data gaps remain that limit our understanding of the epidemiology of H5N1 in humans. Although infection in humans with H5N1 remains rare, human cases continue to be reported and H5N1 is now considered endemic among poultry in parts of Asia and in Egypt, providing opportunities for additional human infections and for the acquisition of virus mutations that may lead to more efficient spread among humans and other mammalian species. Collaboration between human and animal health sectors for surveillance, case investigation, virus sharing, and risk assessment is essential to monitor for potential changes in circulating H5N1 viruses and in the epidemiology of H5N1 in order to provide the best possible chance for effective mitigation of the impact of H5N1 in both poultry and humans. Disclaimer The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions or organizations with which they are affiliated.

                Author and article information

                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central (London )
                23 January 2015
                23 January 2015
                : 8
                : 1
                : 14
                [ ]Ghana Armed Forces Medical Directorate, Accra, Ghana
                [ ]Department of Virology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon, Accra, Ghana
                [ ]Veterinary Services Directorate, Accra, Ghana
                [ ]Wildlife Division, Forestry Commission, Accra, Ghana
                [ ]U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.3, Cairo, Egypt
                © Agbehenovi et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 29 April 2014
                : 23 December 2014
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                © The Author(s) 2015

                backyard poultry,pandemic avian influenza,biosecurity,education,military,ghana
                backyard poultry, pandemic avian influenza, biosecurity, education, military, ghana


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