Authorities in the cattle corridor districts of Lyantonde, Sembabule and Kiruhura have announced a quarantine on the slaughter, sale and movement of cattle in the three districts following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Cattle markets in the three districts have also been indefinitely closed to avert the spread of the viral disease.
The local authorities acted on the directive of state minister for Animal Husbandry, Ms Joy Kabatsi.
The most affected sub-counties include Kashagama, Lyakajura and Kinuuka, all in Lyantonde District and Lungusulu, Lwebitakuli in Sembabule District.
The Lyantonde District veterinary officer, Mr Edward Ssekawonjwa, has attributed the outbreak to pastoralists who moved to different districts in search of water and pasture during the recent prolonged dry spells.
“We have so far detected some cases of infected animals in each of the three sub-counties in the district. However, measures have been put in place to avoid the spread of disease,” Mr Ssekawojwa said during an interview yesterday.
He said a team of veterinary officers have been deployed in every sub-county in Lyantonde District to take blood samples from animals so that they can be tested at the National Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Centre in Entebbe
“More veterinary officers from the Ministry of Agriculture are expected to conduct more tests on the affected animals and join efforts to fight the disease,” he said, adding: “We also plan to carry out mass vaccination to boost the immunity of the non-infected livestock soon.”
The Lyantonde District police commander, Mr Thomas Oyo said big cattle markets like Kyemamba in Lyakajura Sub-county, Kabamushwere in Mpumudde Sub-county and Kashagama- all found at the border of Sembabule and Kiruhura districts, will remain closed until the outbreak is contained.
“The minister has issued a directive and we have to enforce it so that we save people’s lives and animals which are not yet infected,” Mr Oyo said.
FMD is a fatal viral disease that affects animals, including cows, goats and sheep. The virus is spread through cow dung, milk, meat and air.
The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the hooves that may rupture and cause lameness. The affected animal can hardly move or feed due to the sores in its mouth which causes sudden death.
The first FMD outbreak in Uganda was recorded in 1953. Since then, they occur annually and do not seem to follow a particular pattern. The last outbreak occurred last year.
Outbreaks. In 2014, FMD hit about 30 districts across the country and government imposed quarantine on the sale of beef and dairy products. The quarantine was lifted six months later. The disease struck again last year and several livestock farmers in central region lost a considerable number of animals.