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Rwanda bans poultry products amid bird flu concerns

Rwanda has imposed temporary ban on all imported poultry products from Uganda and European countries due to outbreak of Avian Influenza (bird flu).

Avian Influenza is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds. In rare cases, it can affect humans, according to medical scientists.

Uganda has confirmed the outbreak of the flu in wild terns and domestic birds which has led to mass deaths of wild birds on the shores of Lake Victoria in the country.

“The species so far hit by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or HPAI, are migratory white-winged black terns as well as domestic ducks and chickens,” Uganda Ministry of Agriculture confirmed in a statement.

It warned of an imminent “catastrophe.”

The outbreak of the disease has also been reported in dozens of countries across Europe, including Hungry, Germany, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom.

“We call upon all Rwandan business operators importing all poultry products from Uganda and Europe to cease with immediate effect.

“The disease is of great concern to our poultry industry and to humans,’’ said Geraldine Mukeshimana of Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, in a statement.

She urged the public to report any case of mass deaths of birds both domestic and wild to any nearest government authority.

The ministry said that poultry farmers must keep domestic birds indoors to avoid them interacting with wild birds, adding that people must stay away from wild birds found dead, and report the cases.

It stressed the need for poultry producers to ensure essential bio-security measures and standard hygiene precautions as well as early detection, immediate reporting and rapid response.

Rwanda imports tons of poultry products from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The country produced over 16,000 tonnes of poultry meat and 6,973 tonnes of eggs per annum as of 2014, statistics from Rwanda Agricultural Board revealed.

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