Kapchorwa. Cattle dealers in Kapchorwa District have defied a directive from authorities imposing quarantine on the movement of the animals, slaughter of meat and sale following the outbreak of anthrax in the area.
Some cattle dealers are selling meat and its products on the black market.
Mr Sande Cherop, the district veterinary officer, said the dealers smuggle cattle and meat from neighbouring Bulambuli, Kween and Amudat districts.
“They take advantage of laxity of our agencies and the fact that we do not have checkpoints to smuggle in meat at night,” he said, adding that they are proposing to establish effective checkpoints.
Mr Cherop, however, said they have not received any new case of anthrax and vaccination is still ongoing.
“We are summing up with vaccination of cattle and coverage is now at 75 per cent. We believe we will soon finish with vaccination and the ban will be lifted,” he said.
Mr Cherop said samples that were taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute turned out negative, but they had to sustain the ban as a precaution.
Mr Isaac Cherista, the district health officer, said they are organising meetings to sensitise the community to prevent further spread of the disease.
“We are conducting health education in communities, especially where the suspect died from,” he said.
Mr Stephen Batya, the municipality mayor, said people should be alert and desist from consuming meat until the ban is lifted.
“We urge people to report any incidents suspected to be anthrax disease,” he added.
However, a cattle dealer, who preferred anonymity, said they have been affected by the quarantine.
“This is our business, where we earn a living to sustain our families. We ask the district officials to lift the ban because it has overstayed,” he said.
The World Health Organisation says human beings acquire the disease directly or indirectly from infected animals or occupational exposure to infected or contaminated animal products.
Anthrax was first reported early last month in Kokwomurya ward, Central Division in Kapchorwa Municipality. One person reportedly died and four others were admitted to Kapchorwa hospital.