Cameroon has sent an official report of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This was the first outbreak of the disease in the Central African country since 2006. The presence of the H5N1 virus variant was confirmed after unusually high mortality at a breeder rearing facility at a poultry complex in the capital, Yaoundé in the third week of May. In all, 15,000 of the birds in the flock of 33,000 breeders, broilers and layers died; the rest have been destroyed. The source of infection is unknown.

According to Africa News, the affected farm is one of the country’s largest poultry operations. After the disease was confirmed, officials met to strengthening measures to contain the outbreak, and the country’s poultry farmers have been urged to collaborate with the authorities to stop the further spread of the disease. Late last week, Cameroon’s Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Dr. Taiga, banned the sale of poultry in markets across Mfoundi Division, which includes Yaoundé.

The 2006 outbreak led to the collapse of the country’s poultry sector, according to Cameroon Concord, as the local population stopped buying chicken for fear of contracting the virus.

Cameroon is the only country to report a new case of highly pathogenic avian flu to the OIE within the past two weeks.