19 August 2017

Uganda Declared Free From Bird Flu

Photo: The New Times
(file photo).

Kampala — The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in conjunction with the ministry of health on Saturday announced that the country is free from bird flu.

The outbreak of bird flu was declared in Uganda on 15th January, 2017 affecting domestic and wild birds. The virus was detected in districts of Wakiso, Kalangala and Masaka along the shores of Lake Victoria.

Addressing journalists at the media centre, the state minister of agriculture Mr Christopher Kibazanga said that the ministry in March started concerted and coordinated efforts by multi-sectoral national task force to control the disease.

"The ministry has since been carrying out active surveillance in all affected districts, and laboratory samples collected from domestic poultry and wild animals have been confirmed negative since March 2017 to date. Therefore the country is hereby declared free from bird flu," Mr Kibazanga said.

The outbreak had negatively impacted on the country's economy resulting for trade bans on the country's exportation of poultry and poultry products to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo as well as death of poultry.

Mr Kibazanga however noted that the government and technical teams in the ministry of agriculture together with their counterparts in Kenya have been conducting surveillance and risk assessment in view of lifting the ban on trade in poultry products and they partially lifted the ban.

"The government of Kenya has now agreed to partially lift the trade ban through compartments. Some firms and industries have been certified and licensed to export to Kenya after fulfilling the conditions and the total ban will be uplifted after other firms have also complied," Mr Kibazanga said.

Other neighbouring countries have up to date refused to lift the ban but Mr Kibazanga says that they are still in negotiations.

Dr Noelina Nantima, Assistant commissioner, animal disease control, noted that over 10,000 wild birds are estimated to have died while 50,000 domestic birds are estimated to have been lost to bird flu.

"In terms of foreign exchange, after a ban was put out on poultry and poultry products, we have since been conducting social-economic assessment figures and we are yet to complete the exercise but the figures are quite enormous," Ms Nantima said.


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