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Uganda: Bird Flu - Transporting Chicken On Public Vehicles Prohibited

Published on 28 November, 2006, Last updated at 23:25 GMT

By Gladys Kalibbala

AS the Government takes measures to prepare for a possible outbreak of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has abolished transportation of domestic birds aboard passenger vehicles.

"Christmas is around the corner and a lot of chicken and turkeys will be ferried to the city.

"Let traders stay warned they should get separate vehicles to move these birds around as a way of taking precautions against the disease," said Nicholas Khauta, the commissioner for Animal Health and Entomology at MAAIF.

Bird Flu is a contagious disease caused by viruses that normally infect only birds, but have on rare occasions crossed the species barrier to infect humans.

Confirmed cases were reported in Juba, Southern Sudan, 180km from the Ugandan border.

A lot of chicken comes in from northern Uganda atop passenger service vehicles.

The ministry has also acquired bird flu test kits, which will be used by the surveillance teams in detecting the disease.

The acting principal veterinary officer, Dr Rose Ademun, who is in charge of Diagnostics and Epidemiology at PACE, led the demonstration of the use of the test kits at Golf View Hotel, Entebbe last month. This was during the workshop for district PACE coordinators who were mainly veterinary officers from all over the country.

"People get infected through direct contact with infected poultry or objects contaminated by their faeces. Most human cases have occurred in rural areas, where small poultry flocks roam freely sharing outdoor areas with children. Migratory birds can spread the disease among domestic birds through direct contact with saliva or faeces." Ademun added.


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