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‘Costly’ flu error

Dawne Parris

‘Costly’ flu error

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A senior veterinary officer is giving the assurance that a strong surveillance system is in place to keep avian influenza out of the island and alert authorities if it somehow reaches Barbados’ shores, but so far the island is bird flu-free.
It has come from Dr Mark Trotman following inaccurate references to H1N1 as bird flu and local and regional news reports that it had been detected here – an error that forced an importer to look for another market after a neighbouring Caribbean country refused to accept his shipment of chicks.
Speaking at a Press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday morning, Trotman said Barbados had always been, and continued to be, free from bird flu.
“We have a very, very strong avian influenza surveillance programme in Barbados,” he said. “We have veterinary assistants and veterinarians who are constantly collecting samples from the poultry, testing them, making sure that we are free from this virus.”
Trotman added there were also checks at the air and sea ports to reduce the chances of infected meats being imported, and the wetlands were monitored since migratory birds could also bring in the infectious disease.