Bird Flu

South Sudan and Uganda have agreed to conduct joint border surveillance exercise in an effort to combat the spread of the avian flu that was reported in Kampala in January, a South Sudanese official said Thursday.

Bird FluMeanwhile, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries James Janka Duku said South Sudan would not ban imports of Ugandan poultry products.

The minister said the two countries have agreed to deploy health experts along the Uganda-South Sudan border to monitor and inspect Ugandan poultry products.

He said under the new guidelines, all bird products must undergo background checks and traders must have valid export certificates issued by the joint task force.

Duku said a team of technical experts from South Sudan would be dispatched to its Southern neighbor Monday next week to meet their Ugandan counterparts in a bid to expedite the process.

“We have agreed that we jointly set up a mechanism for monitoring and regulating poultry products from Uganda,” Duku told Xinhua in Juba.

The strain of avian influenza detected in wild and domestic birds in Uganda is the same virus that has spread through Asia and Europe over the past four months.

The H5N8 avian influenza strain is thought to have spread across continents via wild migratory birds.

Since Uganda declared the outbreak, Kenya and Rwanda have banned poultry products from Uganda and a number of other East African countries have increased surveillance.

Duku said South Sudan would not ban Ugandan poultry products from entering its territory after initial assessment showed that the outbreak has been contained in the Lake Victoria region.

“We are also involving the ministry of trade and industry in this process because banning has a direct impact on trade,” Duku added.

Uganda is South Sudan’s biggest trading partner in the East African bloc, with South Sudan taking in 15 percent of Uganda’s agricultural products according to data from Ministry of Trade. Enditem

Source: Julius Gale, Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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