Uganda confirms outbreak of Avian flu

January 17, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Onome Oghene/EPA

 

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

Uganda has been hit by the deadly Avian Influenza, the Ministry of Agriculture has announced. The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as Avian or Bird flu, affects birds, animals and humans.

The Junior Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Christopher Kibanza says this is the first time avian flu has broken out in Uganda.

“This country is faced by looming catastrophe of an outbreak of HPAI currently in wild birds and has already affected some domestic birds in Masaka district.”

The disease was first reported on 2 January this year following the mass death of wild birds at the Lutembe beach on the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe.

This was observed by fishermen along the shores who informed the Uganda Wildlife Education center. Wild birds were also reported dead in Masaka district.

Minister Kibanza said that investigations into the mass death of wild birds were conducted by government chemists and the Uganda wildlife education center.

The specimen turned out positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza [HPAI] which can lead to high number of deaths in both humans and birds.

The species already affected are white winged black tern birds, domestic ducks and chickens.

“Seven specimens of the white winged black tern birds have been collected from Lutembe beach and all seven are positive for the deadly disease. Two specimens of faeces picked from the ground just dropped by birds flying away from Lutembe beach were also positive for HPAI, five domestic ducks and one hen specimen were brought in from Masaka district and tested positive too,” observed Minister Kibanzanga.

A national task force has been set up composed of human and animal experts from the government and agencies to handle the outbreak and to ensure that the situation is under control.

The public has been advised against touching or eating wild birds that are found dead but to report instead to the nearest veterinary authority.

The Minister appealed to poultry keepers to ensure that birds are housed properly, to avoid interaction between domestic and wild birds and animals.

The flu is spread by contact between infected and healthy birds, and the virus is found in secretions from the nostrils, mouth, and eyes of infect birds. It is also found in their droppings.

Direct human contact with infected poultry spreads the disease to people. This could be during slaughter or the birds being plucked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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