Kiruhura, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kiruhura district authorities have raised concern about another wave of Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD because of the farmer’s failure to follow the containment measures put in place to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease.
In June this year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries lifted the six-month quarantine imposed on the district to contain the spread of FMD. The quarantine saw a ban on the sale of cattle and their products.
While lifting the quarantine, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries issued guidelines including among others that cattle markets remain closed. They directed that the selling and buying of livestock is restricted to farms with disinfection points and spray pumps for both humans and trucks.
The ministry also prohibited the movement of livestock for breeding and directed veterinary officers to only allow transportation of cattle for slaughter from non-affected farms.
However, Kiruhuri District Veterinary Officer, Dr. Grace Asiimwe says that despite the reduction of the disease in the district, some farmers and traders have started defying the guidelines, which compromises their efforts to eliminate the disease.
He says the disease is currently prevalent in Kinoni and Kanyaryeru sub-counties, where they have now placed a lot of attention. He attributes the reduction of foot and mouth disease to double vaccination.
Dan Mukago, the LC V chairperson of Kiruhura district, says that the task force banned the movement of cattle on foot and street or communal grazing noting that it spreads FMD faster. He however says that people have started moving the animals secretly in the cover of the night. He says the district Foot and mouth disease taskforce has now deployed security personnel to arrest such farmers and traders.
Mukago says they have again moved to sensitise people as it was when the district was first hit with the disease in January. Perez Mastiko Mujwani, a cattle farmer and trader in Keshunga say that they are still sensitizing livestock farmers on the new guidelines.
Molly Nyamwiza, a farmer from Kinoni blames the persistent FMD in Kinoni on the failure to vaccinate goats and sheep. Kiruhura district received 45,000 doses of FMD vaccine for 135,000 heads of cattle.
FMD is spread by infected animals through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, and feed and the affected animal presents blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.