“Is it true?” asks a lady, obviously scared that tilapia, her favourite carp, is now a suspicious species health-wise. The rumour has been spreading in markets and between women. Even though, at the national level, the alert has not been raised by the Ministry of Health, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been sounding the alarm since May.
The institution advises that a “deadly virus affecting tilapias”; which happens to be one of the most consumed fish worldwide. This is the tilapia virus (TiLV) which, we learned, was confirmed in 5 countries; Thailand, Israel, Ecuador, Egypt and Colombia.
Cameroon being a big importer of fish with FCfa 100 billion in related expenses per year, the country is indirectly exposed to the epidemic.
On its website, the FAO urges all countries importing tilapia, (including Cameroon), to take “all appropriate measures to manage the risks such as multiplying diagnostic tests, strengthening health certificates, the implementation of quarantine measures and the development of emergency plans”. But it is difficult for grilled tilapia fans to accept this. Especially as the Nyong river offers very fresh and healthy ones.
Monique Ngo Mayag