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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 16:18, March 17, 2006
Uganda imports bird flu drugs, partially lifts poultry import ban
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As an emergency measure in case of a bird flu outbreak in Uganda, the government has imported 1, 000 doses of Tummy Flu, the drug that treats bird flu among humans, local media reported Friday.

William Olala Mukane, the director of animal resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, was quoted as saying that the importation offers a ray of hope that Ugandans would be safe in case of a bird flu outbreak.

He, however, said Ugandans should not take the importation of the drugs to mean that the country was under attack by the deadly disease.

"As far as we were concerned, there is no bird flu in Uganda or in the region, from Ethiopia to Malawi, Rwanda or Congo."

Uganda was thrown into panic last week when thousands of birds and poultry died in several districts of the country and the deaths were feared to be caused by the avian flu.

Mukane said the samples of the dead birds were sent to Kenya's Medical Research Institute and the results came out negative, which meant the deaths were not caused by the virus.

Bird flu is a highly infectious disease in birds which may contract humans in some cases as the migratory birds spread the virus along their journey.

Uganda has drafted a budget of 10 million U.S. dollars to cater for policies aimed at preventing the spread of bird flu in Uganda in the next four to five years while the government had also developed a four-year national plan of action for bird flu preparedness.

The bird flu was first reported in Asia and Turkey last year. It has claimed 94 out of the 196 people who tested positive of the strain in the affected Asian nations and Turkey.

In Africa, the disease, reportedly brought by an imported parrot, has attacked Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon and Niger.

The Ugandan government earlier partially lifted a ban on the poultry importation imposed last October, allowing the importation of chicken used for breeding from Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Source: Xinhua

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