, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – The government has assured Kenya is free and safe from the bird flu outbreak commonly known as Avian Influenza reported in Uganda.
The first case is said to have been reported in wild ducks and birds at Lutembe beach along the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe in Masaka and Wakiso districts as per notification by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) on 16th January, 2017.
Speaking to the press, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary William Bett said they have deployed a rapid response unit in areas along the border to do a minute by minute surveillance to prevent a possible importation of the disease into the country.
“Following the reported outbreak in neighbouring Uganda, there is need to enhance surveillance at our common border, in the counties of Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, West Pokot, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori,” said the CS.
Bett says they have also banned the importation of all poultry and poultry products from Uganda as well as cancelled all permits issued on the same.
“We are already in touch with the Ugandan Veterinary Authorities not to issue any export permits for poultry and poultry products destined to Kenya in line with the Animal Diseases Act and Meat Control Act,” said Bett, “Any import/export permits earlier issued over the same are equally cancelled.”
As part developing an action plan, the government through the ministry has informed and activated all agencies which are directly concerned with surveillance, prevention, control or management of the disease both at the official border point and within our borders.
They include the Interior Ministry, National treasury, Environment, Health, Industrialization and the Ministry of Education.
“We have already sensitized the agencies and are working together with our officers to prevent introduction of the disease into the country,” noted Bett.
The ministry has also warned the public against consuming uninspected poultry meat further urging them to report on unusual deaths of poultry and birds in their surroundings.
“Among the precautionary measures we would urge the public to take includes reporting of any unusual poultry and wild bird deaths to the nearest vet and or public health authorities, help monitor and report any illegal entry of poultry and poultry products that may be smuggled through illegal/unofficial entry points, help in sensitization of others by sharing the stated information on Avian Influenza among others,” cited Bett.
In a statement, Christopher Kibazanga, Minister for Agriculture, Animals and Fisheries said local wildlife authorities on January 2 had reported the “mass death of wild birds, seen by fishermen at Lutembe beach at the shores of Lake Victoria near Entebbe”.
Another report arrived on January 13 from the Masaka district and in both cases the specimen tested positive for “the highly pathogenic avian influenza that affects both humans and animals and which causes a high number of deaths in both species.”