Government has rolled out mass vaccination of cattle in Kakumiro District in a bid to combat the spread of foot and mouth (FMD) disease in the area.
Outbreak of the viral disease was reported in Mpasana and Nkooko sub-counties early this year, leading to imposition of a quarantine on the slaughter, sale and movement of animals, which was later partly lifted.
The district veterinary officer, Dr Brian Tusiime, said more than 3,000 heads of cattle have so far been vaccinated in the exercise that started last Monday in Mpasana, Kisiita and Nkooko sub-counties.
“We started the campaign and we are targeting 70,000. After the exercise, the Agriculture ministry officials will reassess the situation to see if they can lift the quarantine. But [for now] we expect people to continue respecting the quarantine restrictions,” he said.
Dr Tusiime added: “The vaccine we are using is approved and certified by the government and has no side effects on cattle.”
Cattle keepers commended the government for the intervention.
A cattle keeper, Mr Steven Niwagaba, said: “We have been sinking in poverty because we were not selling our animals; not even products, because of the disease outbreak.”
The district secretary for production, Mr Godfrey Barugahare, said the quarantine is still being maintained in Mpasana and Nkooko sub-counties as they roll out the mass vaccination coupled with sensitisation.
ABOUT THE DISEASE
Sporadic. The first FMD outbreak in Uganda was recorded in 1953. Since then, outbreaks 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.