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29 November 2011

Biological Hazard in Uganda on Sunday, 20 November, 2011 at 11:58 (11:58 AM) UTC.

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An outbreak of brown disease and cassava mosaic, rapidly spreading in Teso sub-region, has left some hundreds of thousands of people in the region at risk of going without food. The spread of the two viral diseases in the region is causing major production losses and in the worst affected districts are Kibuku, Pallisa, Budaka, Butaleja and parts of the greater Teso region. Dr Julius Nyiro, the district production officer, confirmed the outbreak of the disease that has swept most of the cassava gardens, leaving about 175,000 people in Kibuku alone at risk of starving. Cassava is a staple food for the region. “This is disastrous to the people of Kibuku because previously they harvested little or no food due to the pro-longed drought that swept the entire region including this district. So, with yet another problem of cassava disease outbreak will definitely put them into a hard condition as fears of famine are likely to occur,” Dr Nyiro said. Although, the two diseases were first detected in the coastal areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the 1930s, a new brown streak was discovered by researchers in Uganda in 2004.