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November 16, 2018

Kenyan vets, CS meet Uganda team to defuse avian flu threat

Birds seen flying in a group./Monicah Mwangi
Birds seen flying in a group./Monicah Mwangi

Livestock CS Willy Bett is expected to lead a team of Kenyan vets today to meet with the Ugandan authorities to discuss the avian flu outbreak.

Livestock PS Andrew Tuimur on Wednesday said the talks will ensure the flu, also called bird flu, and which was reported in Uganda last week, does not spread to Kenya.

“I know the ban on importation of poultry and its products from Uganda is an economic loss to our farmers and businesspeople, but it’s an important measure that must be taken to protect the country,” he said.

“Because the disease also affects humans, it could undermine our tourism industry, which is a big revenue source. Therefore, we must do everything possible to ensure it doesn’t spread.”

Last week, the government cancelled more than 100 permits for poultry products imported from Uganda due to the outbreak. Prices of poultry products have gone up following the outbreak in Uganda.

Poultry entrepreneur Agnes Kemunto yesterday said a big percentage of eggs consumed in the country is imported from Uganda and the ban on imports has led to reduced supply. A tray of eggs now goes for Sh320, a Sh70 rise.

Tuimur said in case the avian flu crosses the border into Kenya, the first precaution will be to completely destroy all the infected poultry to prevent the disease from spreading farther. He urged Kenyans to be vigilant and report any unusual behaviour or deaths of poultry to the nearest veterinary offices.

Director of Veterinary Services  Kisa Juma on Wednesday urged farmers to ensure all their poultry are enclosed so they do not come into contact with wild birds. He said they are monitoring movements of wild birds at the Kenya-Uganda border.

“Even with the current ban on imports, we still have a challenge with the back-door importation of poultry products that goes unnoticed.”

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