Uganda Issues Deadly Fly Warning

UGANDA - The Ministry of Agriculture is warning poultry keepers in the east of the country about high numbers of simulium flies. These insects can kill poultry and cause blindness in people.
calendar icon 25 August 2009
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The government has announced an attack by a simulium fly, which kills mainly poultry and causes blindness among human beings, in the eastern part of the country.

Monitor of Uganda reports the announcement, made by the State Minister for Agriculture, Mr Bright Rwamirama, during a plenary session in Parliament on 24 August.

"The Ministry would like to inform Parliament and the public that in Kamuli and the surrounding districts of Kayunga, Jinja, Kaliro and Iganga, there is an outbreak of simulium fly," he said.

"The flies move in large swarms attacking and killing poultry by causing loss of blood. They breed in fast-moving water and only adult flies live outside the water," he added.

The minister said the government has already dispatched a team of entomologists to the affected areas to identify the breeding sites of the fly in order to control it.

To the public, Mr Rwamirama said: "Keep your poultry indoors and dust your birds with poultry insecticide powder (sevin). Report the presence of the flies to district authorities and assist in identifying breeding sites that can be treated with chemicals to prevent their multiplication."

He said the black flies are active only during the day and do not breed at night.

According to Monitor, the black fly is central to the transmission of the parasitic nematode, Onchocerca volvulus, which causes river blindness. The flies are usually small, black or gray, with short legs, and antennae. They are a common nuisance for humans.

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