Bird Flu outbreak confirmed in Uganda

Hundreds of migratory birds died at Lutembe beach in Entebbe and at Bukakata in Masaka which are hot spots for migratory birds from Europe

Hundreds of migratory birds died at Lutembe beach in Entebbe and at Bukakata in Masaka which are hot spots for migratory birds from Europe

The government has confirmed the break-out of the highly virulent H5N1 Avian Influenza commonly known as Bird Flu along the shores of lake Victoria in Wakiso and Masaka districts.

It is the first time the deadly flu is being reported in Uganda, although the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that several African countries including Morocco and Tunisia had reported the disease last year.

The Ministry of Health says that it received reports of massive deaths of the white winged black terns, which are migratory birds along Lutembe bay on Lake Victoria.

The ministry adds that after the reports, tests were carried out at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Masaka, which;”On January 13, confirmed presence of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in all the seven samples collected along Lutembe bay.

Last week, massive deaths of the same migratory birds as well as domestic birds have been reported along landing sites of Masaka at Bukakata and in Kalangala district.

The acting Director General of Health Services Prof. Anthony Mbonye warned in a statement that although the disease may have been detected in birds so far, it can attack humans and have similar adverse effects.

Symptoms

In humans, the H5N1 causes flu-like symptoms, such as fever, diarrhoea, sore throat, runny nose, headache, cough and chest pain.

Domestic Chicken are highly susceptible to attack

In domestic poultry, infected birds can be seen from signs such as

  • Sudden death, lack of coordination, purple discolouration of wattles and legs
  • Soft-shelled misshapen eggs
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swelling of the the head, eyelids and comb, wattles and hocks

The ministry of health says that one cannot contract the disease by eating all chicken, if it is well cooked since the virus is sensitive to heat.

Bird flu was first identified in Asia in early 2000 although in Africa, it was first reported in 2006 in Nigeria at a large chicken farm.

Henry Lutaaya is The Editor of The Sunrise, a Weekly Publication with a bias towards covering stories of social, economic impact with the view to transforming Uganda’s economy.
He is also acting as the Treasurer of USJA
He can be reached on henrylutaaya[at]gmail.com
+256752863156 / +256787288345