Early this month, Uganda announced it had detected a virulent H5 strain of avian flu among migratory birds in two spots, one near Entebbe, on the banks of Lake Victoria, and another in the Masaka distict about 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Kampala.
Following the outbreak, Kenya, Rwanda and some European countries imposed a temporary ban on poultry imports such as live chickens, chicks, eggs and meat from Uganda to reduce the possibility of the disease spreading.
However early this week Ugandan director of Health, Dr. Anthony Mbonye, revealed the strain of Avian Influenza that was behind the massive death of wild migratory birds along the shores of Lake Victoria was not as lethal as earlier thought.
According to him, the strain of Avian Influenza also known as bird flu was H5N8 and not H5N1 as reported by Uganda’s newspaper, NewVision.
Bett led a team from his ministry to Uganda last Saturday where he met with President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja.
After the meeting, Bett announced that a team of experts from Kenya and Uganda are doing a risk assessment to determine the chances of the disease spreading.
“Any further decision will therefore be based on the team’s report. I am happy both parties acknowledged the danger posed by the disease and the need to work closely in arresting its spread,” Bett told a local daily.
The team is expected to table its report this week and advice on the way forward.
Museveni later on expressed his gratitude, noting that both the Uganda and Kenya government teams have exhibited concerted effort to assess and research on such an escalation of birds’ virus infection.
“It’s good that you will come up with joint recommendations to handle the situation”, the president said as reported by Uganda media center.
Uganda says it has contained the outbreak, adding that most farms that export eggs to Kenya are located more than 10km from the quarantined area.
Ugandan Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempijja urged Kenya and other neighboring countries not to worry about bird flu, saying it was under control.
Uganda has some 40 million chickens, according to agricultural statistics.