Avian Flu and Pandemic Influenza

Overview of the avian influenza

The DRC is located in the pathways of wild bird migratory movement originating from Asia and Europe especially in the Rift Valley

These migrations can cause gatherings of varied species of birds likely to support contact between sedentary or domestic wild animals and wild birds. The inventory of birds raises 1,094 species of wild birds, including 23 who are endemic.  In DRC, there are several parks and reserves which constitute sites of predilection for the migratory birds.

The estimated domestic poultry is about 20 million, who are living closely among family.

No avian influenza case were reported in human yet in DRC, but last year 2016 the DRC faced its first avian Influenza outbreak in domestic poultry especially in (ducks)

Poultry economy is unregulated there is minimal work to assist small farmers in practicing good disease prevention methods during transport at the market and slaughter.

Animal and human surveillance systems links are not linked.

Since 2000, with the appropriateness of eradication program of the poliomyelitis, the country set up an integrated monitoring system which allows regular notification of the potential epidemic.

 Surveillance strategies in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

  • Strengthening multi-sector coordination
  • Strengthening monitoring for both Human and Animal influenza
  • Strengthening diagnosis capacity for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
  • Strengthening capacity measures for response to the disease
  • Support communication and research

Main influenza activities of CDC in DRC

Since 2008 to September 2016, the National influenza laboratory at INRB have analyzed by real-time PCR (RT-PCR) 16,743 specimens; among them 1,631 (9.7%) were positive for influenza viruses:  541 (33.2%) B, 459 (28.1%) A (H1N1) p, 532 (32.6%) A (H3N2), 10 (0.6%) A (H1N1) s and 89 (5.5%) unsubtypable.

August to December 2009 constituted the pandemic period in DRC, and during this time the National Influenza Center received and analyzed 966 samples, 290 of which were positive for A (H1N1) p.

Virological and epidemiological findings from this influenza sentinel surveillance are disseminated through weekly reports to all stockholders. Furthermore, those findings are posted on FluNet and specimens are shared with WHO Collaborating Centers.

The US Embassy in Kinshasa is closely following this epidemic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in DRC provided technical and financial supported to the DRC MOH.