Uganda confirms Avian flu in wild terns, domestic birds

Uganda confirms Avian flu in wild terns, domestic birds

KAMPALA, Uganda — Tests have confirmed that avian flu is responsible for the mass deaths of wild birds on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, according to the government.

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, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement Sunday, warning of an imminent “catastrophe.”

Samples from at least two sites, including a beach on the shores of Lake Victoria and elsewhere in central Uganda, have tested positive for HPAI, some strains of which can affect people, said the statement.

It was not clear which strain of the virus is infecting the birds, including the terns that migrate from Europe to Africa during winter.

The H5N8 strain of the virus, which is harmless to humans, has been spreading in poultry farms in some parts of Europe, including France and Germany.

The authorities carried out tests following reports by fishermen of massive deaths of birds on beach near a wetland that is a sanctuary for many birds and which attracts bird watchers from all over the world.

The government is urging people not to eat birds and other wild animals that are found dead.

Rodney Muhumuza, The Associated Press

Canadian Press