Panic as Bird Flu Returns to Uganda

Panic as Bird Flu Returns to Uganda

Government has confirmed the outbreak of Pathogenic Avian Influenza commonly known as Bird Flu in districts of Entebbe and Masaka. This came to be known after mass bird death reports from those districts.

According to the minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja, the ministry was on 2nd January informed by Uganda Wildlife Education Center of a report of mass death of wild birds seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria.

He adds that another report was received on January 13th from Masaka district.

“UWEC communicated to Uganda government chemist and the commissioner of animal health of my ministry. We immediately sent a team to investigate the mass bird death together with a team from government chemist and UWEC” Ssemoijja said in a statement.

“The specimen unfortunately has turned positive to the very serious disease, the ‘bird flu’ which affects both humans and animals and which causes high number of deaths in both species,” he added.

Ssempijja explained that five domestic ducks and one hen specimen which were brought from Masaka tested positive to the HPAI. This diagnosis was undertaken by the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre.

A National Taskforce 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 wild animals has been put in place to handle the disease outbreak.

The minister calls upon the public to report any cases of mass birds, animals, both domestic and wild at any government authority nearest to them, but especially the veterinary authorities; report any cases of sickness or death of human to the nearest human health facility or to the ministry of health.

Bird owners have also been advised to house them, avoid interaction domestic and wild birds and animals. People must also not touch or eat wild birds or other wild animals that are found dead, they should instead report to the nearest veterinary authority.