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.
• 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.