Rukiga, Sheema, Bushenyi ban selling pork and pig movements over African Swine Fever

WESTERN UGANDA – Veterinary authorities in three districts of Western Uganda have put a temporary ban on selling pork products and pig movements over a reported outbreak of African Swine Fever in the region.

This all started from Rukiga constituency in Kigezi region, where the veterinary experts declared the outbreak in early October 2021.

The flare that sparked off the closure of pig markets started from Kamwezi sub-county which neighbors Rubaare, Rwentobo-Rwahi town Council, Kayonza among others areas in Ntungamo district before emerging in Bushenyi and Sheema respectively.

By the close of the weekend, all pork roasting points in Sheema and Bushenyi were all banned to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease affecting both domestic and feral swine of all ages. ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans but is a transboundary animal disease of great economic importance found in countries around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

It has no cure and no vaccine with mortality rate of up to 100%.

In a circular signed on 27th October,2021, Sheema district authorities temporarily slumped a ban on the slaughter and movement of pigs in and out of already affected areas.

According to Dr Joseph Amanya, District Veterinary Officer (DVO) Sheema, the deadly disease is suspected to have come from the neighboring district of Bushenyi currently detected in Kitagata sub-county.

Amanya says, samples have been summited to NADDEC lab Entebbe and a number of measures put in place to limit its wide spread.

“All movement in and out of pigs and slaughter in Shuuku, Bugongi, Kitagata T/C, Rugarama S/C, Kasaana should stop immediately until further notice. Farmers are encouraged to isolate all the sick pigs and carry out proper disposal of dead pigs and disinfect regularly and avoid visiting infected premises,” reads part of the letter.

Dr Amanya called upon the public to respond to the call and report all suspected cases in their areas to sub-county authorities for proper management.

The letter written by the DVO through the District Production Officer (DPO) was addressed to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) copied to the RDC Sheema, Chairman LCV, all LC III Chairpersons, Town Clerks, Sub-county Chiefs, Town Clerk and Sheema Municipality for proper implementation.

Away from pigs, Dr Amanya added that the district rapid response taskforce is studying suspected outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) in areas of Kigarama sub-county for appropriate action.

Then in Bushenyi, Kabagarame, a popularly known venue for pork enjoyment was also suspended for two months following the outbreak of African Swine Fever in the district.

Kabagarame is one of the renowned places in western Uganda where people congregate every Saturday to enjoy pork and millet [karoo].

This is not the first time the pork business in Bushenyi has suffered a setback. It was first closed in June 2021 by the area Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Ms Jane Muhindo, being cited as one of the hot spots to the insurgence of Covid-19 since it attracts most revelers from DRC, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Speaking to Moses Bugyendo, the Bushenyi Municipal Animal Husbandry Officer, Kabagarame will not be allowed to open starting from 1st Nov.2021 until two months elapse.

Bugyendo also cautioned all other pork joints within the municipality to close for two months as they keep studying the situation of swine fever spread.

“We expect the disease to have ceased by the end of two months so let’s remain patient for these few months,” says Bugyendo.

The Bushenyi District Veterinary department equally issued a notice banning all pork selling markets in the district.

The ban has been imposed in sub-counties of Kyeizoba, Ibaare, Bumbaire and Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality.

While most pig markets and sale of all pork products has been closed in most parts of Western districts, Dr Nabaasa Robinson, the In-charge of veterinary services in Mbarara City confirmed that the slaughtering of pigs and sale of pork in the city is still ongoing.

“In Mbarara, we don’t have yet but of course we are hearing that it is in Rukiga, Ntungamo, Rukungiri and maybe part of Bushenyi. Currently the markets are still open as we have not heard of any outbreak and people are slaughtering normally,” Nabaasa said.

He however says, they are still monitoring the situation to prevent the African Swine Fever spread.

“What we are doing is majorly restricting animals from already affected districts and doing surveillance but of course when one farm gets affected, we shall see how to control it but we have just put measures so that it doesn’t cross,” Nabaasa explained.

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