WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BIRD/AVIAN FLU?

On January 2, 2017 the Ministry of Agriculture, Animals and Fisheries was informed by Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) of a report of mass death of wild birds seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe.
Another report was also received on 13th January 2017 from Masaka district where domestic ducks and chicken had died at Kachanga village in Bukibanga parish and Bukakata sub-county.

The carcasses were delivered to the National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Entebbe. It was later confirmed that the deaths were due to bird flu. UWEC communicated to Uganda Government Chemist and the Commissioner of Animal Health (CAH) of the agriculture Ministry.

The Ministry of Agriculture immediately sent a team to investigate the mass bird death together with a team from government chemist and UWEC. The specimen unfortunately have turned positive to the very serious disease The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), that affects both humans and animals and which causes high number of deaths in both species.

Crucial facts
• The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is commonly referred to as Avian Flu or Avian Influenza.
• This is the first time Avian Flu or Avian Influenza breaks out in Uganda;
• HPAI affects humans, birds and animals.
• The species that are so far affected are white winged black tern birds and domestic ducks and chicken.
• 7 specimen of the white winged Black Tern birds have been collected from Lutembe beach and all the 7 are positive with the deadly disease.
• 2 specimen of bird dropping from birds flying away over Lutembe beach were also positive for HPAI.
• 5 domestic duck and 1 hen specimen were brought in from Masaka district were also found to be positive with HPAI.
• Diagnosis was done by the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) MAAIF.
• Diagnosis was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) MOH;
• There is a National Task Force (NTF) which is multi-disciplinary with experts from government, agencies and NGOs. They are usually called upon to handle outbreaks of diseases that affect both humans and animals. The NTF is anchored at OPM and is co-chaired by MAAIF and MOH.
• The NTF has experience and has competence to handle such outbreaks, and therefore the situation is under control.

Advice to the public
• Report any cases of mass birds or animal deaths, both domestic and wild to any government authority nearest to you, especially the veterinary authorities.
• Report any cases of sickness or death in humans to the nearest human health facility (Hospital, clinic) or to the MOH.
• Bird owners MUST house them, avoiding interaction between domestic and wild birds and animals.
• People MUST not touch or eat wild birds or other wild animals that are found dead, they should instead report to the nearest veterinary authority.
What Ministry of agriculture is doing:
• Together with MOH, UWEC, UWA, Districts and all other stakeholders will;
–  Immediately inform the public to avert any human catastrophe from human infections;
–  Calm the population through providing accurate information and facts about HPAI
–  Intensify meetings and actions of the National Task Force on disease.

The National Task Force continues  with further investigations and prevention of spread of HPAI to domestic animals and possibly to humans; continues providing information to the public. It also plans to control HPAI in domestic animals and humans.

No infected persons yet?
Uganda does not have any human victims or suspects of avian influenza, also known as bird flu, according to Dr Anthony Mbonye, the director of health service (clinical and community health) at the health ministry.
“We do not have any human cases of bird flu,” Mbonye told New Vision and described the 20 suspected cases among the fi shermen at Lutembe landing site and on Bussi Island in Wakiso as a false alarm.
“We sent a team to Lutembe and Bussi and discovered that what was being referred to as suspected cases were alarmist.

Symptoms:

• The disease has similar symptoms with the common flu and has an incubation period of three to four days and is accompanied by sneezing, as well as coughing, high temperature, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, the muscle aches, but it does not spread through air.
• The keepers of birds should watch out for symptoms such as a swollen head, discoloration of the neck, throat and loss of appetite.
• Respiratory distress, diarrhoea and when birds lay fewer eggs.

Click below to watch a discussion on MINIBUZZ by residents of Nsangi, in Wakiso District ( Uganda) on what they understand my Avian Flu.

MINIBUZZ I Nsangi residents talk Avian Flu

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