At a workshop in Accra in November 2008, participants identified re-introduction of the virus into Ghana as a major challenge. The risk question posed was “What is the risk of re-introduction of HPAI H5N1 virus from neighbouring countries (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo) into Ghana via cross-border trade and movements involving live birds, poultry products and fomites?“. Three release risk pathways involving Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo were developed. A questionnaire was developed to elicit responses from identified experts to provide information. Credible information was received from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. There was no response from Togo. A qualitative risk assessment following the OIE framework was undertaken to address the risk question. The qualitative risk estimates for the release pathways ranged from negligible to very low with high uncertainty. The highest risk of re-introduction of HPAI H5N1 virus to Ghana is the pathway involving cross-border trade and movement of poultry, poultry products, people and fomites from Cote d’Ivoire with risk estimates being negligible to medium. The high level of uncertainty associated with most of the risk estimates point to significant gaps in knowledge of the epidemiology of HPAI and/or poultry production or trade in West Africa. Therefore the risk estimates have to be interpreted with extreme caution. There is the need for targeted data collection to fill some of the relevant knowledge gaps. The particular areas are the prevalence of HPAI in household birds and wild and scavenging birds, and movement patterns of people and poultry and poultry products across the borders.
Africa/Indonesia Team Working Paper No.20, 93 pp.