Aweil locals may now consume fish as the life span of fish infection has elapsed.
According to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, it is now safe for Aweil locals to continue fishing operations and consume fish since the life period of the infection has already passed.
The statement was made after a collaborative technical investigation team presented a conclusion that identified a “weird” fish outbreak illness in the Lol and Chel Rivers as “Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome” (EUS).
According to scientists, EUS is a seasonal water mold that affects both caught and farmed fish, and it is caused by – Fungi of the genus Aphanomyces.
The administration of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBGs) banned local populations from eating fish in December 2021 after several of them were coming out with sores or wounds on their body.
As a consequence, the National Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) deployed a team of specialists to Aweil to conduct their diagnostic.
Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, said that the illness has been detected because EUS and its life cycles and infectious behavior stay motile in water for just 20 days, which has already occurred.
“As a result, I stated that the NBGS state government must relax the prohibition on fisheries operations along the Lol River in order for our people to resume their regular livelihood and food security activities,” Nyikwec told media at a news conference in Juba.
Our data imply that the infection in NBGS (at Lol River) might be due to the flow from Congo watersheds into South Sudan,” he speculated.
Mr. Nyikwec emphasized that ill fish should not be consumed by humans and that infection caused by eating fish ulcerates muscles and tissue, which might host opportunistic bacteria and result in health consequences for humans.
Meanwhile, the Assistant FAO Representative, Mary LeroLakur, emphasized FOA’s unwavering support for the South Sudanese government in resolving health and livelihood challenges.
“Thank you to the entire fishery team for the quick response to this fish outbreak in Aweil despite the Christmas season, the team really takes their time as priorities, and this is in consideration of fish being an important component of livelihood as well as food security in South Sudan, particularly in NBGS,” Laku emphasized.
In 1971, an outbreak of EUS in fish was detected in Japanese waters. Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia were the first countries in Africa to report the disease in 2007.
It was initially detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2018, while in South Sudan, it was discovered in Yambio, Western Equatoria State, along the Gangura River watershed, in March 2020.