FAO organizes workshop with Iraq on viral hemorrhagic fevers
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a workshop on Wednesday in collaboration with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, Syndicate of Veterinarians, and the Medical Association to discuss combating viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) in Iraq, according to a statement.
The workshop was attended by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Technical Affairs, Dr. Methaq Abdul-Hussein, FAO Representative in Iraq, Dr. Salah El-Hajj Hassan, the head of the agricultural committee in parliament, the financial advisor to Iraq's president, and a member of the Council of Ministers' advisory body. A large number of veterinarians from both the public and private sectors attended, in addition to an audience of farmers and livestock breeders from Baghdad.
The workshop featured a number of presentations and lectures on the disease by the attending specialists.
"The expert of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations presented the methods of disease transmission and modern methods of controlling it," read the press release.
The FAO expert also clarified the organization's role in Iraq, including the support provided to the Ministry of Agriculture by implementing the Improving Delivery of Animal Health Services and Disease Surveillance in Iraq donated by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
"The project activity included, in addition to training courses for veterinary staff (currently ongoing), providing equipment, devices and materials for field and laboratory diagnosis of diseases," the statement added.
The workshop concluded by making a number of recommendations, including establishing a crisis cell to control the disease, launching awareness campaigns for breeders and butchers, rehabilitating existing slaughterhouses and building new ones, and reactivating the Supreme Committee for Epidemiological Disease Control in the Council of Ministers.
Iraq has recorded nearly 60 cases and 12 deaths from viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), including the Crimean-Congo fever, so far this year.
In previous years, the country would record about 20 cases of VHF per year. However, this year it has already recorded three times that number, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health spokesperson Saif Al-Badir.
There isn't a vaccine or any known cure for VHFs.
The Crimean-Congo VHF is transmitted from animals to humans and can cause various symptoms, including high fever and bleeding. The virus's fatality rate is as high as 40 percent.