The engagement between the PDMA and government is working well. The PDMA in collaboration DAFF Veterinary Public Health (VPH) ran a successful pilot study of egg sampling, residue and microbial testing as a first step towards the development of a national residue and monitoring programme for eggs. A total of 34 commercial and 5 small-scale layer farms were included in this preliminary sampling around Gauteng.
Furthermore, there is an ongoing engagement between the PDMA and VPH in developing a national monitoring programme for testing of residues and microbial in eggs. The next phase will be to determine the basic guidelines on routine sampling of residues and microbial agents, and based on the outcome of the results, an application to the rest of the country will be made. Also, the VPH is considering the possibility of inclusion of National Department of Health (DOH) to participate in the engagements and facilitate the One Health approach. Communication has been dispatched in this respect and a response is awaited from the DOH. The long-term objective of the programme will be to enable export of products irrespective of the production size, and endorsement from DAFF following standardised testing and monitoring programmes, while benefiting human health at the same time.
We are on track to promote awareness on multi-agency collaborations, and interaction between government, academia and the industry on the regulation and control of veterinary antimicrobial agents and recommend best practices on the management of antimicrobial use, stewardship and resistance.
Training state vet poultry experts
Atotal of 51 state vets have gone through targeted inservice professional training since 2013. Furthermore, 14 to 16 vets have been scheduled for training in 2016. The 2016 course will run for over a week each in January and February, with equal numbers of state veterinarians (7 to 8) attending for each week. A follow-up contact session for 2016 for all state vets who have gone through training is being considered and will be implemented in due course.
Developing a searchable registered products database
The information on registered products is available on the PDMA website. There has been a great progress on submission of package inserts from various companies since the notification sign was uploaded on the landing page of PDMA website. However, to date not all companies have submitted their products’ inserts, but these are being followed up and these will be added as they come in. The web address is available and open to the public at www. poultrydiseases.co.za.
Technical support of smallscale and backyard farmers
The PDMA is working on a proposed plan to visit the 9 provinces with state vets who have gone through training and provide much needed technical support. This will be the first step in creating an interface and added-value relationships between the state vets and farmers. This programme will ultimately achieve the→
goal of bridging the gaps between the two important role players, in view of public health safety concerns of chickens sold in informal and sub-formal market. In addition, the programme will aim to improve the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions (KAP) on food safety of producers in this sector. An appeal will be made to the provincial structures to assist in identifying the smallholder farms that operate in this sector.
The PDMA updates and informs the public regularly through the website, the Bulletin, postings on important dates of training, poultry diseases, as well as disease acts and protocols. Information on the state vet’s telephone contacts are also made available, and disease study cases of the last contact session held in October 2013 and other important information is posted on the website.
NAI surveillance monitoring programme
Aseminar on risk analysis and surveillance was held in February 2015. Private and state vets were invited to discuss the current status of disease surveillance and the risk posed by trans boundary animal diseases. It was concluded that there is a need for an established and routine surveillance system to be in place. The PDMA continues its attempts to establish a system for poultry disease reporting diagnosed throughout the country. It should be understood that an active and reliable poultry disease surveillance system is a priority to enable a better understanding of the country's disease situation and to be able to do proper monitoring and control. We have continued to approach industry’s role players to provide us with previous and current confidential data on diagnosed cases for purposes of planning. In the same vein, we are appealing to Directorate of Animal Health (DAH) in DAFF to regulate this activity and make it compulsory for all industry players, laboratories, farms, abattoirs and necessary partners to report - and implement adequate measures of punishment to defaulters. This will get the industry into compulsory reporting whatever the situation is on a case-bycase basis.
Developing testing and monitoring programmes for meat
Last year an abattoir project was conducted at three high throughput abattoirs with the hope of developing a testing and monitoring programme. The project has since stopped with some suggestions that the revised programme should include the inclusion of low throughput abattoirs and that certain body portions of retailed chickens such as neck skin should be sampled. A modified protocol and SOP have been developed and as soon as we receive approval, we will continue with the project. Approximately, three high and low throughput abattoirs each will be identified.
Disease updates Salmonella
There has been a confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Gallinarum in pullets in the Western Cape Province. There were also three cases of Salmonella Enteritisdis confirmed during the egg project. A research and surveillance programme on Salmonella is in the pipeline to track it, because Salmonella species is considered to be frequent contaminants of chickens and have caused several foodborne outbreaks in humans. Discussions are still being held in this regard towards finalising the Salmonella movement control protocol with DAH-DAFF. We believed that this protocol will be treated with despatch and some sense of urgency.