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Uganda declares itself free of bird flu

Uganda on Saturday declared the end of the bird flu outbreak, which has led to the death of thousands of birds and affected the country’s poultry export.

Uganda on Saturday declared the end of the bird flu outbreak, which has led to the death of thousands of birds and affected the country’s poultry export.

Christopher Kibanzanga, the state minister for agriculture, told reporters that Uganda is now free from bird flu or avian influenza that broke out in Januar.

The outbreak was declared on January 15, affecting domestic and wild birds in the three central districts of Wakiso, Kalangala and Masaka, along the shores of Lake Victoria.

 

“The laboratory samples collected from domestic poultry birds and wild birds have been confirmed negative since March to date,” Kibanzanga said.

 

The disease killed at least 50,000 domestic birds and 10,000 wild birds in the country, according to figures from the ministry.

 

Kibanzanga said the outbreak negatively impacted on the country’s economy, resulting from trade bans on export of poultry products to neighbouring Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.

The minister said the Kenyan government has agreed to partially lift the poultry trade ban through compartments.

Compartments are certified and licensed firms that have fulfilled the exporting conditions.

Uganda is among the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that face a high risk of a bird flu outbreak as it is crisscrossed by several routes for migratory birds.

Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

The infection can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness, which may pass unnoticed, to a fatal disease that can cause severe epidemics.

According to the WHO, avian influenza viruses do not normally infect humans but there have been instances of certain highly pathogenic strains causing severe respiratory disease in humans.

Xinhua

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