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Drill tests readiness to combat bird flu

posted on 05/06/2006: 1488 views

Officials simulated a major bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm on Saturday night where 230 people were declared infected by the deadly virus. The scenario was staged at Zayed Sports City stadium as part of the second bird flu drill organised by the National Committee for Emergency Response to Bird Flu.

Emergencies were declared at both Zayed Military Hospital and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), with police and health authorities getting into top gear with the military to contain the disease in case of human infection.

All then pretended to swiftly move to Abu Samara on Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Highway to contain and clear the poultry farm, which had been storing 150,000 to 200,000 eggs. The farm supposedly now had 400,000 infected poultry and 100,000 litres of stored polluted water. The total infected area that needed sterilisation spanned between 400,000 to 500,000 sq m. It was assumed there were about 500,000 infected eggs with retailers around the emirate the day the infection was discovered.

The scenario involved two workers who were found to be in a serious condition and had to be immediately airlifted to hospital, while one worker upon seeing armed forces and police personnel tried to escape.

He was prevented from escaping and was provided with counselling from doctors and other staff.

The drill was observed by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and committee chairman.

Majid Al Mansouri, Head of the Secretariat of the National Committee for Emergency Response to Bird Flu and Secretary-General of Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) also said 10 to 12 schools in Abu Dhabi had already been identified and selected as clinics in case of a major bird flu outbreak.

Hi-tech equipment, including army vehicles, ambulances and helicopters, were used in the exercise. Two mobile incinerators, which were recently purchased for Dh2.5 million, were also moved in to destroy poultry in the mock drill.

The hour-long exercise at the stadium began at 7.45pm, it condensed a 72-hour drill, which included providing medical assistance and moving affected workers to Zayed Military Hospital and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, a complete culling of birds, disinfecting the area, cleaning and eliminating of the virus. However, no live birds were used or culled in the exercise.

A field hospital with a team of doctors, nurses and paramedics was set up inside the stadium, while the farm was set up outside with live TV coverage on small monitors inside the VIP pavilion for guests to view. (Gulf News)


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