No poultry disease outbreak in Region Six, tests find

The University of Georgia’s testing of samples taken from a Region Six poultry farm in June did not find any trace of a poultry disease, according to Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) Dwight Walrond.

“All the tests were negative. That confirms our suspicion that it wasn’t an outbreak of any particular disease, but it was a management issue,” Walrond was reported as saying yesterday by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

In July, Stabroek News had reported that farmers in the East Bank of Berbice were impatiently seeking answers and help as their losses mounted from the deaths of hundreds of chickens and ducks due to an unidentified disease.

Farmers had reported that the affected animals were not dying immediately; instead after displaying signs of paralysis, their heads would fall to the ground with their eyes closed.

One farmer, who claimed that he has lost over 800 chickens since mid-June, reported that one day he discovered about 200 dead chickens and about the same amount infected. He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension officers were contacted immediately and they visited and took samples from birds that were affected as well as those that were unaffected.

At that time, Waldron had told GINA that the issue appeared to be localised and there was no outbreak.

“We want to test for a wide array of diseases. Based on clinical signs there are two different manifestations taking place, that’s why we are using the University of Georgia to test for four to six diseases. The University of Georgia is a reference laboratory. Sending the samples to Georgia is the best course of action since it would give us a good idea of what’s happening on East Bank Berbice,” GINA reported him saying in June.

He has further stated that the livestock authority has made efforts to educate farmers in Region Six and surrounding areas about farm management practices to prevent a recurrence of wide scale poultry deaths.

“We have since conducted a focused training exercise for those farmers on the East Bank of Berbice a few weeks ago, and that training was conducted by the head of extension, Mr. Selwyn Anthony, and it was well attended by farmers in that part of the Region and from other parts of Region Five. What we are trying to do is to let farmers understand that the little things matter because it would take the little things to cause that level of mortality. When you are suffering over 70 or 80 percent mortality it is not good for any business,” Walrond explained.


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