Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak Reported In Luwero

There is a fresh outbreak of the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD in Luwero district. The disease has been reported in livestock farms in Kikyusa and Kamira sub-counties where it has spread to five farms within two weeks.

As result, Timothy Kasule, the Luwero District Senior Veterinary Officer has written to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries alerting them about the outbreak and requesting vaccines to control the spread of the disease.

“The outbreak will impact negatively the livestock business if it spreads to other areas of the district. We have put up temporary measures, which include restricting the movement of animals in affected areas as we wait for the Ministry to announce other measures,’’ Kasule said.  

David Kalungi, the Luwero District Production Secretary, says that last year, the Ministry of Agriculture donated 8000 doses of the FMD vaccines to stop new infections across the district but they were little compared to the demand.  According to Kalungi, they need to carry out massive vaccination of cattle to prevent the spread of the disease.

Six months ago, the Ministry of Agriculture relaxed the quarantine imposed on Kamira sub-county because of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. The fresh outbreak has triggered panic among local leaders and pastoralists. Livingstone Kategeya, a pastoralist in Kamira sub-county, says that some cattle have reportedly died in Mazzi parish after contracting the disease.

“Some of us have bought veterinary medicines to treat the disease only to get fake products. We ask the government to help us vaccinate the cattle and also fight the fake medicines,” Kategeya said. 

There are over 100,000 head of cattle in Luwero district. The majority of the cattle are found in Kikyusa, Kamira, Makulubita, and Buntumula sub-counties. In Nakasongola, the Ministry of Agriculture imposed a quarantine on Wabinyonyi, Nabiswera, and Nakitoma sub-counties following the FMD outbreak three months ago.

Fredson Kakooza Wilson, the LC 3 chairperson of Nabiswera sub-county says that the quarantine has left pastoralists in poverty. He says that the quarantine also fueled animal thefts because traders now load animals in the night to beat the restrictions.

According to Nakasongola District Veterinary Office, there is at least 266,791 head of cattle, mostly in the affected sub-counties. In Nakaseke, Fred Rwabirinda, the District  Production Secretary, says that although there is no reported FMD outbreak, they have also introduced measures directing cattle traders to only bring in cattle with proof of vaccination.

“Pastoralists have suffered so long with quarantines. We are now strict on the measures so that we don’t import the disease from districts of Luwero, Nakasongola, and Masindi which have reported outbreaks,” Rwabirinda said. FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that affects cattle, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.

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