Newcastle disease outbreak confirmed in Amuru district

AMURU – Amuru district veterinary department has confirmed Newcastle poultry disease outbreak.

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 as ostriches, emus and rheas.

The symptoms of Newcastle disease include; loss of appetite, coughing, gasping, nasal discharge, watery eyes, bright green diarrhoea and nervous signs such as paralysis and convulsions among others.

The poultry disease was first registered in Lagak village before spreading to Oguru Kal and Labika villages in Pabo Town Council, Amuru district.

It has reportedly killed more than 400 birds in the three villages of Pabo Town Council since it was first recorded in August this year.

Bosco Oloya says, he lost 21 of his chicken to the viral disease while his Primary Four daughter lost 9 of her birds.

“I lost 21, and my daughter lost 9 birds. My daughter had hopes that the money from the sale of the birds would help her buy scholastic materials when schools finally resumes,” Oloya said.

According to Oloya, they only have 3 birds left in their communal compound of four different families.

Cosmas Apuke, a resident of Labika village says, he lost more than 20 of his birds to the disease. He says, he tried local herbs as well as vaccines from veterinary shops within Pabo Town Council but it did not save his birds.

Francis Kidega, another farmer who also lost more than 20 birds to the disease appeals to the district authorities to help them procure the vaccines and also train them on how to administer the vaccines on their birds.

According to Kidega, many of them are struggling financially and also lack basic knowledge on administering the vaccines on their birds.

“If only the district could come to our rescue and give us some dozes of the vaccines and also train us how to administer them; it would be great since most of the veterinary doctors we have around will want to charge us highly because they know we are desperate to keep our birds alive,” Kidega appeals.

Bartolomeo Okwonga, Amuru District Veterinary Officer, confirmed the viral disease outbreak to our reporter in an interview on Tuesday.

He says they have currently launched a sensitization drive to ensure farmers vaccinate their birds since the Newcastle disease vaccines are locally available.

“We are telling our farmers to vaccinate their birds against the viral disease using the Newcastle disease vaccines which are locally available,” Okwonga says.

According to Okwonga, they are using both the sub-county and private veterinary doctors to fully participate in the vaccination exercise to fight the outbreak of the poultry disease.

This is the first time Newcastle disease is being reported in Pabo Town Council in a period of 10 years. The last time the outbreak of the poultry disease was reported, it claimed over 609 birds according to locals in the area.

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