Hon. Kibazanga, has confirmed the presence of Avian flu disease in East Africa.
“Tests carried out on dead birds found on the shores of Lake Victoria between the capital Kampala and Entebbe, the location of the international airport, but also in Masaka District, have proved positive of avian flu, government officials confirmed late yesterday and earlier today”, the minister confirmed.
“This is the first time AVIAN FLU or AVIAN INFLUENZA breaks out in Uganda; HPAI affects humans, birds and animals;
However, the species that are so far affected are white winged black tern birds and domestic ducks and chicken”, the minister said at a formal press conference held at Uganda media center.
“7 specimen of the white winged black tern birds have been collected from Lutembe beach and all the 7 are positive for the deadly disease; 2 specimen of feaces picked from the ground just dropped by birds flying away from Lutembe beach were also positive for HPAI”.
“5 domestic duck and 1 hen specimen were brought in from Masaka district were too confirmed to be positive to HPAI”, he said.
This Diagnosis was undertaken by the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) MAAIF;
The Diagnosis was also confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) MOH;
“There is a National Task Force (NTF) which is multi disciplinary with human and animal experts from government, agencies and NGO that is usually called upon to handle outbreaks of diseases that affect both humans and animals. The NTF” the minister said st the press conference.
Neighbouring countries also bordering Lake Victoria are said to have instituted prompt measures to raise surveillance and monitoring on local and migratory bird populations to determine if the disease has also spread to their own shores.
Lutembe Bay, a major migratory bird route waypoint into and out of Africa, is one of the locations where dead birds were found.
Global organizations are also said to be preparing emergency support measures for Uganda to contain the outbreak and fight the further spread of the disease.
According to information received from sources close to government is the type of avian flu not known to spread to humans but nevertheless have officials called to be careful not to handle domestic chicken and other poultry and in particular not to touch any birds found dead to avoid any possibility of the virus crossing over to humans.
Alerts have been raised before in Uganda mainly because the country is part of the migratory bird corridor into Africa and past training will come in handy now to tackle the outbreak here in Uganda.
Tourists heading to Uganda have been reassured that they are most unlikely to come into contact with infected birds and need not fear or resort to cancelling their safari vacations in Uganda or anywhere else in East Africa for that matter.