AFRICA / BIRD FLU

17-Dec-2005
Africa and UN agencies are bracing for the Avian influenza to arrive. Wild birds are migrating to the continent, but experts say it is impossible to know whether they are carrying the virus. UNIC (Nairobi)

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STORY: AFRICA / BIRD FLU
TRT: 6.22
SOURCE: UNIC (Nairobi)
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE CH 1 ENGLISH / KISWAHILI / NATS
CH 2 ENGLISH / KISWAHILI / NATS

DATELINE: 10-11 NOVEMBER 2005, KENYA, NAIROBI

SHOTLIST:

1. Med shot, birds together
2. Med shot, bird in nest
3. Close up bird, flying away
4. Close up, birds eating
5. Med shot, two birds in tree
6. Close up, bird on branch
7. Med shot, two birds on ground
8. Wide shot, birds in flight
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Marco Barbaieri, Scientific and Technical Officer, Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS):
"Migratory birds could be one of the causes of the spread of the disease. This means that areas currently not affected by the disease could be affected if the virus is carried by migratory birds, which is still to be demonstrated."
10. Med shot, ducks in water
11. Med shot, bird standing
12. Med shot, people walking in streets
13. Med shot, people crossing road
14. Med shot, people standing by road
15. Med shot, woman begging
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ling Kituyi, Joint Medical Services Director, United Nations:
"The current human flu normally takes its highest toll on people with reduced immunity just the groups you mentioned HIV, people with poor nutrition, the elderly, very young, diabetics, chronic heart and lung disease, cancer patients."
17. Wide shot, Josphat walking with buckets in yard
18. Med shot, Josphat walking up stairs amongst chickens
19. Wide shot, Josphat feeding chickens
20. Close up, feed into bowl
21. Close up, Josphat taking eggs from chicken.
22. Med shot, Josphat putting eggs into bucket
23. SOUNDBITE (Kiswahili) Josphat Mungai, Kenyan Farmer:
"With the chickens they are helping us in the eggs because we sell the eggs and then we get some money which can provide for our children's education."
24. Wide shot, Josphat collecting grass
25. Med shot, Josphat cutting grass
26. Close up, Josphat cutting grass
27. Close up, Josphats face as he cuts
28. Close up, cow eating
29. Long shot, Josphat walking down his farm
30. SOUNDBITE (English) Paul L. Andre de la Porte, UN Resident Coordinator, Kenya:
"In Kenya, what is the likelihood that it would transmit to humans compared to again other countries, we have some advantages I think, we have more space then some of the Asian, South East Asian markets. People are not so much on top of each other, so it could well be that the hygienic conditions might be not as dismal as in some other parts of the world."
31. Wide shot, people walking past a lake with ducks in
32. Med shot, ducks in lake
33. Wide shot, ducks in water
34. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Peter P. Eriki, Representative of Kenya,
World Health Organization:
"There is no vaccine for H5N1 virus at the moment because we need a mutation to come so it is transmissible from human to human and that is where we get concerned and therefore the need for the vaccine development."
35. Wide shot, people walking in street
36. Close up, lots of feet walking in street
37. Med shot, man selling items on street
38. Med shot, man carrying things on his head in street
39. Med shot, two older men talking in street
40. Med close-up, man sitting in street
41. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Peter P. Eriki, Representative Kenya, WHO:
"We're already having problems with other conditions like HIV Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. It will be a very serious burden to us here and it could lead to a large number of people dying."
42. Med shot, man on phone in street walking next to woman
43. Med shot, man reading newspaper
44. Med shot, woman with mobile phone
45. Close up, mobile phone in her hand
46. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Augusta Abate, Assistant Representative Kenya, Food and Agricultural Organization:
"With the awareness creation that is going on by the veterinary department which is very well networked, we will begin to get reports and we are hoping with the same veterinary department through the network in the country can get samples brought back to the labs but its I suppose, easier said than done. The practicality of it and getting that information from the remotest corner of a country like Kenya through calls or SMS's, will need facilitation to begin with."
47. Wide shot, birds flying off lake
48. Wide shot, bird in wetlands
49. Med shot, Ronald opening cabinet
50. Close up, Ronald putting stuffed duck onto cabinet tray
51. Mr. Ronald Mulwa, Senior Scientist, Department of Ornithology, National Museums of Kenya:
"We are trapping the birds to extract blood samples, we are also collecting droppings for chemical analysis, medical analysis, working with Kenya Medical Research Institute to access whether we have Bird Flu coming here in Kenya."
52. Wide shot, Anthony walking done chicken run with employee
53. Close up, rubber boots walking amongst baby chickens
54. Med shot, thousands of baby chickens in run
55. Close up, chicken in run
56. Close up, chickens drinking
57. SOUNDBITE (English) Anthony Wainaina, Sales and Marketing Manager, Kenchic Ltd:
"If Bird Flu came to East Africa I think it would be nightmare, because we are looking at an economy which is not really very strong almost coming to its knees, you are looking at about 24 million birds on the ground, your looking at Kenya alone, the value of chicken at any one point worth about 1.7 billion Kenyan Shillings and your looking at a bigger multiple affect, your looking at the chicken producers themselves getting a big hit, your looking at the feed producers, your looking at the vaccine people, your looking at the tourism industry getting a hit because when there's a scare of Bird Flu in East Africa a lot of people will cancel their visits here. So the total multiple effect would actually be quite wide spread and a lot of people, hundreds of thousands of people are going to loose their jobs."
58. Med shot, tourist walking in streets
59. Med shot, tourist looking at Kenyan goods
60. Close up, hand of tourist touching bracelet
61. Med shot, bird in wetlands
62. Close up, bird on branch
63. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Augusta Abate, Assistant Representative of Kenya, FAO:
"But the big task now is to sensitize and to tell the population that it is not just any other chicken or poultry dead it could be something that could lead can affect the humans."
64. Med shot, man shaking boots in water
65. Close up, boots in water
66. Close up, Josphat holding a chicken
67. Close up, feet walking through baby chickens


STORYLINE:

Africa and UN agencies are bracing for the Avian influenza to arrive. Wild birds are migrating to the continent, but experts say it is impossible to know whether they are carrying the virus so they are being cautious and making preparations in a bid to control any outbreak.

SOUNDBITE (English) Marco Barbaieri, Scientific and Technical Officer,
Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS):
"Migratory birds could be one of the causes of the spread of the disease. This means that areas currently not affected by the disease could be affected if the virus is carried by migratory birds, which is still to be demonstrated."

Health Officials here say that this continent cannot cope with any outbreak. Kenya alone has 2 million people with HIV, and should this bird flu mutate and move to people, those whose immune systems are already at risk are likely to be infected.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ling Kituyi, Joint Medical Services Director, United Nations:
"The current human flu normally takes its highest toll on people with reduced immunity just the groups you mentioned HIV, people with poor nutrition, the elderly, very young, diabetics, chronic heart and lung disease, cancer patients."

Poultry plays a huge role in people's lives in Africa. Entire families rely on chickens
like these for their livelihood. Josphat Mungai has a small holding on the edge of Nairobi. He needs his chickens to support his children.

SOUNDBITE (Kiswahili) Josphat Mungai, Kenyan Farmer:
"With the chickens they are helping us in the eggs because we sell the eggs and then we get some money which can provide for our children's education."

Unlike Asia where farmers and city dwellers live among their livestock, Africa is far less populated and less humid, giving hope that any outbreak here would be less catastrophic.

SOUNDBITE (English) E Paul L. Andre de la Porte, UN Resident Coordinator, Kenya:
"In Kenya, what is the likelihood that it would transmit to humans compared to again other countries, we have some advantages I think, we have more space then some of the Asian, South East Asian markets. People are not so much on top of each other, so it could well be that the hygienic conditions might be not as dismal as in some other parts of the world."

It isn't certain that this virus will make the jump from birds to humans and if it does, it is those people who handle the birds who are at most risk and would be the ones to spread it.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Peter P. Eriki, Representative Kenya,
World Health Organization (WHO):
"There is no vaccine for H5N1 virus at the moment because we need a mutation to come, so it is transmissible from human to human and that is where we get concerned and therefore the need for the vaccine development."

The Avian virus causes proteins to rush to infected lung tissue causing an immune system overreaction that can be fatal. This would have a tumultuous effect on Africa where one in three Africans is already malnourished.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Peter P. Eriki, Representative Kenya, WHO:
"We're already having problems with other conditions like HIV Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis. It will be a very serious burden to us here and it could lead to a large number of people dying."

Kenya and UN agencies are preparing just how to get the word out about bird flu and how to prevent it.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Augusta Abate, Assistant Representative, Kenya, FAO:
"With the awareness creation that is going on by the veterinary department which is very well networked, we will begin to get reports and we are hoping with the same veterinary department through the network in the country can get samples brought back to the labs but its I suppose, easier said than done. The practicality of it and getting that information from the remotest corner of a country like Kenya through calls or SMS's, will need facilitation to begin with."

Birds are currently migrating from Europe where outbreaks have been reported and experts in Nairobi are carefully surveying and testing numbers of birds from specific wetlands.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mr. Ronald Mulwa, Senior Scientist, Department Ornithology, National Museums of Kenya:
"We are trapping the birds to extract blood samples, we are also collecting droppings for chemical analysis, medical analysis, working with Kenya Medical Research Institute to access whether we have Bird Flu coming here in Kenya."

Companies such as Kenchic, one of the largest poultry providers in East Africa, are taking precautions against the Avian Flu. Every week 600,000 chickens hatch and at any given time there are more than 50 million chickens in Kenya.

SOUNDBITE (English) Anthony Wainaina, Sales and Marketing Manager, Kenchic Ltd:
"If Bird Flu came to East Africa I think it would be nightmare, because we are looking at an economy which is not really very strong almost coming to its knees, you are looking at about 24 million birds on the ground, your looking at Kenya alone, the value of chicken at any one point worth about 1.7 billion Kenyan Shillings and your looking at a bigger multiple affect, your looking at the chicken producers themselves getting a big hit, your looking at the feed producers, your looking at the vaccine people, your looking at the tourism industry getting a hit because when there's a scare of Bird Flu in East Africa a lot of people will cancel their visits here. So the total multiple effect would actually be quite wide spread and a lot of people, hundreds of thousands of people are going to loose their jobs."

If Bird Flu breaks out, the tourism industry too would falter and if people in the community over react, many birds might be needlessly killed in moves to wipe out Bird Flu.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Augusta Abate, Assistant Representative, Kenya, FAO:
"But the big task now is to sensitize and to tell the population that it is not just any other chicken or poultry dead it could be something that could lead can affect the humans."

Kenyan experts and UN agencies say prevention is the best form of cure and educating people about handling poultry and how to spot symptoms of the virus for now is the only line of defense.
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UNIC (Nairobi)
Asset ID
U051217a