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Rwanda bans imported poultry products amid bird flu concerns

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

Bird flu, or 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 Avian 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 released on Sunday, warning of an imminent "catastrophe."

The Avian Influenza outbreak 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, Rwanda ministry of agriculture and animal resources in a statement released Tuesday.

She urged the public to report any cases 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 that are found dead, but instead report the cases.

It further stresses the need for poultry producers in ensuring essential biosecurity 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 the Rwanda Agriculture Board.


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