The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is set to spray tsetse flies in twelve districts that neighbour Lake Victoria following expert predictions of serious infestation.
According to Stephen Byantwale, the Commissioner in charge of crop protection, the plan to spray follows reports that indicated the detection of tsetse flies in flytraps that were set in districts around Lake Victoria and the Island.
Byantwale revealed that the affected districts are Masaka, Kalungu, Mayuge, Kyotera, Mpigi, Namayingo, Wakiso, Buikwe, Busia, Mukono and the island districts of Kalangala and Buvuma.
According to MAAIF, they plan to carry out aerial spraying and use of blue flytraps which is one of the ways tsetse flies can be prevented from spreading and causing effects on both people and livestock.
Byantwale said that previously set traps caught some tsetse flies which prompted recommendations to the cabinet, outlining measures to curb the hazardous insects
“We have received reports from various districts around Lake Victoria and the Kalangala Island indicating that the flytraps we set had caught some tsetse flies. We therefore, came up with several measures of aerial spraying and use of blue flytraps to recommend to the Cabinet, in order to curb the dangerous insects early enough,” Byantwale said.
Fred Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture said that tsetse flies which cause sleeping sickness in humans and Nagana in livestock have made a comeback. He added that the hazardous insects associated with the spread of the vector-borne parasitic disease affects the socio-economic setup and depopulation if not controlled and treated.
MAAIF has also advised people in the affected areas to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants of medium-weight material in neutral colours that blend with the background environment, because, tsetse flies are attracted to bright or dark colours, and can bite through lightweight clothing. People in the affected districts have also been advised to inspect vehicles before entering, slash bushes around their compound and use insect repellent.
It should be noted that tsetse flies first infested parts of Busoga in 1970s, 80s and 90s and caused a vector-parasitic disease which brought about depopulation in many parts of Uganda, some of which parts became forest reserves and national parks but the insects and disease were later defeated.