Almost 9000 birds die to Newcastle disease in Busia

An outbreak of Newcastle Disease has killed over 8,976 birds in Busia district.

A chicken affected by the disease

Newcastle disease is a highly contagious disease of birds caused by a para-myxo virus. Birds affected by this disease are fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, guinea fowl and other wild and captive birds, including ratites such ostriches, emus and rhea.

The disease is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of infected birds, especially their faeces. It can also be spread indirectly through people and objects that have been in contact with infected birds, or their excretions (such as faeces).

Infected birds develop symptoms such as the loss of appetite, gasping, nasal discharge, excretion of bright green diarrhoea, paralysis, falling feathers, a swollen head, among other symptoms, and it dies within four to five days.

The most affected are poultry farmers in Bumwenge, Bukalikha, Muganiro in Masafu sub-county, Buwuma ‘A’, Nangwe North, Buwuma ‘B’ and Mululumbi villages in Dabani sub-county and Butote and Buyengo in Masinya sub-county.

Moses Nyegenye, the chairperson of Masafu-Masinya poultry farmers association, said that after stocking over 15,000 chickens that were to be distributed to members, most of the birds died of Newcastle disease.

Dr Patrick Barasa, the Busia District Veterinary Officer, says that they confirmed the outbreak of Newcastle disease in Uganda in November last year, adding that he and his team are going to embark on a massive sensitisation tour to roll back the effects of the disease.

Around the country, the agriculture has taken several hits from disease affecting livestock.

African Swine Fever (ASF), for instance, has taken a toll on piggery farms in Masaka district, reportedly claiming the lives of a large number of pigs in a space of days.

Doctor Kirumira Mukasa, the Masaka District Production and Marketing Officer, confirmed the outbreak of the disease saying some farmers have lost up 80% of the pigs on their farms.

A farm belonging to Reverend Sister Francis Namukwaya of Kitovu Convent in Masaka city, for instance, witnessed its piggery almost wiped out.

Dr. Mukasa advised the farmers to regularly disinfect their pigsties and also restrict visitors to their farms alongside maintaining a high level of hygiene.

However, it should be noted that there is no treatment nor is there any effective vaccine against ASF.

Beyond insisting on hygiene, the control of transmission of the disease is extremely difficult.

This is why preventive measures such as the restriction of movement and herd depopulation are necessary control measures because of how quickly and easily the virus spreads.

Accordingly, Dr. Mukasa says the high spread of the disease is owed to the uncontrolled movement of pigs and poor hygiene, adding that ASF is the biggest threat to piggery farming in Masaka district at the moment.

A previous surge in swine fever cases hit Masaka city a month ago with more than 50 pigs dying in the space of seven days, the city veterinary officer confirmed at the time.

It has been reported that, over the past week, African Swine Fever (ASF) is the cause of death in the villages of Luvule, Bulayi, and Sunga in the Nyendo-Mukungwe division and Ssenyange and Kijabwemi.

Peter Ssennabulya, the city’s Veterinary Officer, said the outbreak has the potential to spread to other parts of the district and country unless it is stopped in its tracks.

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