The government has been able to put the recent avian flu outbreak under control, State Minister for Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja has said.
"I would like to reiterate that bird flu outbreak has been controlled and together with stakeholders, the government is ensuring trade in poultry and poultry products will resume," Ssempiija said. He added that no migratory bird deaths have been reported in the last three weeks. Ssempijja made the remarks while addressing journalists’ in Entebbe after a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart Hon. James Duku who is the neighbouring country’s minister of livestock and fisheries.
Sempijja further said that the country’s poultry industry (breeders, commercial layer and broiler producers) is safe, with the farmers practicing bio safety measures. He also stated that their location is a safe distance from the outbreak and as such they are not affected by the outbreak which is still only confirmed in the migratory birds.
He further dismissed any allegations of human contraction of the virus: "The serotype of the virus which was observed three weeks ago was the avian influenza Type A- Serotype H5N8 which is highly pathogenic in birds and not humans, thus no humans were affected so the population is informed that there will be no vaccination against bird flu."
South Sudan becomes the second country after Kenya to send a taskforce to Uganda in it’s effort to curb the avian flu outbreak which has seen some neighbouring countries close off their borders to Uganda’s poultry products.
While addressing the media, Minister Duku after a tour of some of the affected areas and commercial poultry farms and markets commended the Ugandan team for the preventive measures that they had put in place.
"After we got news of the bird flu outbreak in Uganda we were very alarmed that we would be affected next, so we came here for a fact-finding mission because we must take a decision basing on facts but yesterday I was taken to Bukakata landing site and other poultry commercial areas; the measures they put in place were very assuring," he said.
Duku further assured the Ugandan business community of continued trade between the two neighbours. "We had never closed off the border to Ugandan products, not even poultry and with the findings and recommendations that I have got from both the technical team and minister that I will go back home with, I don’t think there will be any reason to close off our mutual borders," he said.