Via the Daily Monitor: Kalangala locals eating suspected flu-infected birds. Excerpt:
KAMPALA. Residents living on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kalangala District are capturing weakened migrant birds and eating them despite the Health ministry’s warning that such birds can pass the deadly birds flu onto humans.
Kalangala, Wakiso and Masaka districts have registered massive deaths of migrant birds infected by the deadly Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) type H5N1.
It is the first time that the bird flu type H5N1 has been reported in birds in Uganda. This strain of the disease, one of three types, affects humans, animals and birds, according to UN health agency WHO. Humans contract the disease through close contact with infected poultry or with objects contaminated by their faecal matter, according to the global health agency.
Incidences of island district residents eating the dead or weak birds were reported in Jaana and Buyange islands in Bubeke Sub-county, Kalangala District.
Mr Samuel Mutimba, a resident in the area, said they have been trapping and catching some of the bird species that migrate to the islands for food.
“These birds are part of our food. We have been eating them for ages,” Mr Mutimba said.
Mr Richard Lule, a resident on Jaana Island, said he saw some of his colleagues picking up birds around the rocky island.
“I have seen some of our colleagues here picking up these birds and some have told us that they are sweet,” Mr Lule said.
Bubeke Sub-county is a known bird sanctuary and harbours close to 923 bird species. Most of the birds are found in Nsirwe Island, which is close to Jaana Island.
Kalangala District health inspectors yesterday visited the affected areas and collected the dead and weak birds and culled them in an effort to stop the spread of the bird flu.
The Kalangala District health officer, Mr Hillary Bitakaramire, said precautions and guidelines have been disseminated to health officials in Bubeke Sub-county to ensure the residents are safe.
The health inspectors also held awareness meetings with the locals warning them against eating or having contact with the dead birds.