A high level delegation comprising of researchers from the United States of America visited (Uganda Virus Research Institute) UVRI’s Zika Forest to learn about the research conducted here. Led by MUII Plus PhD fellow Martin Mayanja, an entomologist from UVRI/Arbovirology laboratory,the team had a walk and talk through Zika forest to the 120 feet steel tower that was transferred from Mpanga forest in the 1960s to Zika forest to strengthen mosquito studies. The tropical forest located along Entebbe road 23km from Kampala has a rich biodiversity in plants and moths, and is home to about 40 types of mosquitoes. It covers about 25 hectares next to the swamps of Waiya Bay, an inlet of Lake Victoria.
Speaking during the tour,Martin said that Zika forest reserve is a field research station for monitoring yellow fever activity and other mosquito borne viruses and also talked about the the discovery of the Zika virus in 1947. The team was shown how mosquito collection and sorting is done in the field using light traps that were donated by the Centers for disease control and prevention,(CDC) .
However, concerned about the safety of the forest, the team inquired about the challenges encountered. “Encroachment and pollution are the core problems affecting Zika forest and UVRI is doing its best to reclaim the encroached land and sensitize the public around on the dangers of polluting the forest…” UVRI administrator, Rajab Lukwago explained.