Guyana asks US university to help detect deadly poultry disease

Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2016, 18:34 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana has dispatched poultry samples to the United States (US) to determine what type of disease is responsible for sudden poultry deaths in East Bank Berbice.

According to Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Dr. Dwight Walrond, “samples which have been taken from the premises of one large scale farmer of broiler birds have already been prepared and are on their way to the University of Georgia because of the types of tests we want.”

Dr. Walrond explained that, “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,” Walrond said.

The University of Georgia is one of the reference laboratories which is utilised for further testing of GLDA samples.

The Guyana Times Newspaper dated Wednesday, June 29, 2016, published an article titled, “Farmer loses over 800 chickens in Berbice” while the Stabroek News of Saturday, July 9, 2016 reported that “East Berbice farmers count losses from unknown disease.”

While these reports have indicated that other farmers are reporting increased mortality among their poultry, the DCEO hastened to point out that, the reports are different in that on one farm’s broiler birds, approximately eight weeks old, are being affected while in two other instances, creole birds, ranging from one day to four weeks were being affected.

“The signs and symptoms are different, one transpired during the rainy season and the other just started,’ Walrond told the Government Information Agency (GINA).

The DCEO said that the farm location of the broiler farmer which was visited by a team from the GLDA interviewed the farmer and looked at his husbandry practices. The team concluded that there is a need for guidance in the area of farm management. “Mortality has since been reduced on this farm,” Walrond explained.

“On Tuesday, our head of extension will be in the Region Six trying to develop the best package for the farmers in terms of delivery of extension services. The team including one staff from epidemiology will be working along with staff and farmers in the region to collect whatever data we would have missed in the initial investigation, and to bring further relief to farmers,” he explained.

The GLDA has acknowledged the reports, but remains steadfast in its findings that it is too early to declare an outbreak of poultry diseases since the cases investigated are dissimilar and affect different breeds.

The authority is tasked with providing extension and other services to farmers in every region of the country.