14 January 2016

Uganda: Swine Fever Breaks Out in Kampala

An outbreak of African swine fever, a viral disease that affects pigs has broken out in Kampala, according to Kampala Capital City Authority.

The outbreak has been reported in Lungujja parish located in Rubaga Division, in Kampala.

According to Dr Emilian Ahimbisibwe, who is in charge of veterinary services at KCCA, a quarantine for pigs and their products has been enforced in the affected area of Lungujja parish and its neighbouring parishes, particularly Busega and Lubya parishes.

Pork is a popular delicacy in and around Kampala city and it attracts hundreds of people to entertainment venues and bars that serve it grilled or deep-fried.

"We don't allow the movement of pigs and pig products from the affected area and the surrounding parishes," Dr Ahimbisibwe said.

He said a team of veterinary experts has been dispatched from KCCA, Makerere University and the Ministry of Agriculture to study and contain the disease outbreak.

African swine fever is a contagious viral infection that spreads rapidly in pigs. It is passed to animals through a vicious cycle between soft ticks and wild pigs and direct contact with infected pigs.

"The skin of an affected animal will have red patches on it due to haemorrhage," Dr Ahimbisibwe says.

He noted that people visiting piggery farms must disinfect themselves with Jik since it's known for killing the swine-causing virus.

"Pork should be handled properly to prevent the spreading of the disease from one farm to another," he said, adding that the pork dealers should ensure the pork comes with a veterinary permit from the responsible authorities.

However, Dr Ahimbisibwe said the fever does not spread to humans and it can only be controlled in animals through preventive measures since it has no cure.

The outbreak only causes shortage of pork supply.

"African swine fever has an economic implication on the pig industry. All dealers are advised not to slaughter dead animals whose cause of death is unknown," he said.

In July last year, dozens of pig farmers in Masaka District counted losses, following an outbreak of African swine fever that has claimed a number of animals in the area.

A study titled: "Epidemiological Overview of African Swine Fever in Uganda (2001-2012)" published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine indicated that the consumption of pork has increased in Uganda with the central region leading in demand.

"This could be the reason leading to a surge in movement of pigs by traders from most parts of the country to the central region, hence the highest number of outbreaks," shows a study conducted by Mr David Kalenzi Atuhaire of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, at Makerere University.

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