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» 23.04.2010 - World Bank funding targets Africa’s malaria fight
» 26.03.2010 - Aid tied to service delivery still best, WB
» 18.03.2010 - Ministers to adopt strategies to fight job scarcity
» 17.03.2010 - Don’t despair MDGs reachable, Ban
» 17.03.2010 - Trade experts discuss ways to help poor countries
» 04.03.2010 - Africa’s green energy under-exploited
» 04.03.2010 - Mercenary activities focus at Addis Ababa meeting
» 04.03.2010 - Africa media development projects awarded funding

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Fish killing fungus could spread to other part of Africa – FAO

afrol News, 22 July - The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has warned that the disease killing fish in Africa’s Zambezi River basin and already devastating lives of thousands could spread to other parts of the continent.

FAO said the disease, Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS), caused by a fungus forming deep lesions on fish, currently ravaging fish in the basin covering 1.4 million square kilometers is putting more than 7, 000 people as risk of hunger. Fish is a major source of income in many rural districts and the cheapest source of protein.

The FAO Senior Fishery Resources Officer, Rohana Subasinghe, said if the EUS is not properly contained, the disease is likely to spread to other countries surrounding the Zambezi River as well as river systems in the region.

“Indications are that EUS, which was first confirmed in Africa in 2007, is spreading both upstream and downstream of the Zambezi and risks taking hold in other parts of Africa,” FAO said in a news release.

It said although fish infected with EUS do not normally pose a threat to humans, the lacerations render them unmarketable, threatening some 25 million people dependent on agriculture or fishing and fish farming in the Zambezi River basin with serious economic loss.

Since 2007, FAO has bolstered defenses in the seven Zambezi River basin countries – Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – against the disease, with measures including basic diagnosis, targeted surveillance and aquatic animal health management.

In cooperation with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), FAO is establishing a programme to strengthen institutional and human ability for managing aquatic animal health in the wild in the affected Southern African countries.

FAO said that controlling EUS in natural waters is almost an impossible task, but in fish farming operations, a number of simple bio-security measures preventing possible carriers getting into water bodies or fish ponds, removing dead fish and improving water quality can minimise its spread.

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