Sembabule market closed over foot-and-mouth disease

Wednesday August 14 2019

Livestock. Cattle  being sold in Kisenyi cattle

Livestock. Cattle being sold in Kisenyi cattle market in Mubende District on July 10. The Ministry of Agriculture has issued a fresh ban on the slaughter, sale and movement of cattle in parts of Sembabule District following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the area. PHOTO JOSEPHINE NNABBAALE 

By WILSON KUTAMBA

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has issued a fresh ban on the slaughter, sale and movement of cattle in parts of Sembabule District following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the area.

The outbreak was detected last week at a farm in Mitima Village in Mitima Sub-county.
Government has since closed the Lugusulu cattle market indefinitely.

“Consequently, the sale and purchase of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and their products in Mitima Sub-county, is prohibited with immediate effect. The slaughter of the above livestock and sale of meat is also prohibited with immediate effect,” an August 7 letter issued by the Agriculture ministry reads in part.

The order
The letter was written by Dr Doris Kiconco on behalf of the commissioner of animal health.
“Lugusulu markets, slaughter places including butcheries and animal shows in Mitima Sub-county are closed with immediate effect,” the letter further reads.

In 2015, government through the Agriculture ministry, declared a quarantine in the district and indefinitely closed all cattle markets to avert the spread of foot-and-mouth disease that had broken out.
The quarantine was partially lifted in September last year after it had impacted farmers as well as the district revenue.

The foot and mouth disease is a disease that affects cows, goats and sheep. The virus is spread through cow dung, milk, meat and air.
The virus causes high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the hooves. The affected animal can hardly move or feed, later it dies.

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Mr Angelo Ssali, the Ssembabule District veterinary officer, said a team of veterinary officers have been deployed in Mitima Sub-county to take blood samples from animals to be tested at the National Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Centre in Entebbe.
“We also plan to carry out mass vaccination in Mitima Sub-county and neigbouring villages to boost the immunity of the non-infected livestock soon,” he said yesterday

The junior agriculture minister, Ms Joy Kabatsi, said the imposed restrictions are aimed at containing the disease.
“We request the general public to work together with our veterinary teams to enforce quarantine restrictions so that disease outbreak is contained as soon as possible,” the minister said

Ms Kabatsi said Sembabule is becoming prone to constant outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, blaming it on livestock farmers who do not follow the set guidelines put in place by authorities.

Background
The first foot-and-mouth disease 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.

In 2014, foot-and-mouth disease 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 number of animals.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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