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Bird Flu in Uganda Causes Mass Death of Migratory and Domestic Birds

Update Date: Jan 19, 2017 11:13 PM EST

The government of Uganda has issued a bird flu alert after tests on samples collected from a beach on Lake Victoria, as well as central Uganda tested positive for the presence of Avian flu among migratory birds. The Avian Flu infection is thought to have led to mass deaths of birds in this area.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture, domestic chickens and ducks as well as migratory white-winged black terns are infected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI.

The statement also warned that some of the strains can affect humans, although further tests need to be carried out to establish the identity of the strain affecting the birds, reveals News 24. According to the ministry, this is the first time Uganda is experiencing a bird flu outbreak. 

The authorities carried out tests after fishermen reported large scale deaths of birds on a beach. According to the agriculture ministry, bird flu was found to have infected birds in two locations. One location was on the banks of Lake Victoria near Entebbe and another was 120 km West of Kampala in the Masaka district.

Authorities were quick to take action in Masaka after they found that five domestic ducks and a hen in Masaka tested positive for the bird flu infection. Poultry was kept inside to avoid spread of infection and also any spread of infection from migratory birds, reports The New York Times.

Christopher Kibazanga, Minister for agriculture, animals and fisheries, clarified that fishermen had initially reported the mass death of wild birds on Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria. Later reports revealed that  tests conducted on samples were positive for the virulent strain of Avian influenza.

To quote the statement released by the government, "Samples tested positive with the highly pathogenic avian influenza that affects both humans and animals and which causes a high number of deaths in both species."

The government has issued an advisory against consumption of birds and animals found dead.


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