According to a news report by Urban TV Uganda, 20 people from the various islands across the country are feared to have caught bird flu according to ministry of health spokesperson Vivian Nakalika.

Map of Uganda/Alvaro1984 18
Map of Uganda/Alvaro1984 18

Surveillance has been stepped up and blood samples have been taken from the suspected victims to further the investigations.

Nakalika said that several districts have put a ban on transportation of poultry to prevent the spread of bird flu. This follows decisions by Kenya and Rwanda to halt poultry imports from Uganda.

“Yes it’s bird flu, but once it spills into the human race it is deadly. In such cases, 60 percent of cases in humans causes death”, Nakalika noted.

Earlier this week, Ugandan officials reported on bird flu in migratory and domestic birds, more specifically, highly pathogenic avian influenza, which causes death in both humans and birds.

Officials advise people who have poultry to report any dying bird or symptoms of bird flu to their district veterinary office.

Avian influenza viruses are highly contagious, extremely variable viruses that are widespread in birds. Wild birds in aquatic habitats are thought to be their natural reservoir hosts, but domesticated poultry and other birds can also be infected. Most viruses cause only mild disease in poultry, and are called low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses can develop from certain LPAI viruses, usually while they are circulating in poultry flocks. HPAI viruses can kill up to 90-100% of the flock, and cause epidemics that may spread rapidly, devastate the poultry industry and result in severe trade restrictions. In poultry, the presence of LPAI viruses capable of evolving into HPAI viruses can also affect international trade.

Avian influenza viruses can occasionally affect mammals, including humans, usually after close contact with infected poultry. While infections in people are often limited to conjunctivitis or mild respiratory disease, some viruses can cause severe illness and death.