Panic as strange disease kills animals

Cows at one of the livestock farms in Nakaseke District in March. PHOTO | DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • Authorities in Nakaseke said samples have been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) laboratories in Entebbe but results are not yet out

Farmers in Kinoni Sub-county, Nakaseke District are battling a strange disease that has reportedly killed an estimated 225 cows in three weeks.

Authorities in Nakaseke said samples have been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) laboratories in Entebbe but results are not yet out.

The strange disease first identified by farmers last month has created unrest across the cattle corridor areas that extend up to the neighbouring Nakasongola District.

Farmers say animals develop high fever, diarrhoea, runny nose and weak joints before they collapse and die.

Mr Ham Nahurira, the chairperson of Kinoni Sub-county, said the mysterious disease that has claimed more than 225 cows in the sub-county was first reported by a farmer at Bulyamusenyu on July 24, after losing four cows in three days.

“The farmers reported the cases to the local veterinary officers who tried to treat the animals without success,” said Mr Nahurira.

He added: “When we reported the cases to the district officials, the farmers were advised to collect some money to facilitate taking samples to Entebbe vet laboratories for testing. The animals that fall sick grow very weak and do not survive after four days.”

Mr Godfrey Kamugisha, the chairperson of Biduku Village, said he has lost four cows while another farmer from his area has lost 17 cows in the last two weeks.

“While our leaders claim to be investigating the strange disease, our farmers are restless. Government should quickly come up with a solution,” he told the Daily Monitor  last Saturday.

Nakaseke North Member of Parliament, Mr Enoch Nyongole, said he informed the Commissioner for Animal Health at MAAIF,  Dr Anna Rose Ademun,about the disease on August 4.

“The ministry is already aware of the incident.. I do not know the exact number of animals that have died but we are receiving phone calls from the farmers reporting cases of animal deaths,” he said.

Mr Geoffrey Mugisha, a farmer at Bulyamusenyu Village, said he has lost nine cows.

“The most affected villages in Kinoni Sub-county include Biduku and Kyamatyansi where more than 100 livestock have reportedly died in a period of three weeks,” the Kinoni LC3 chairperson, Mr Ham Nahurira said.

 The Nakaseke District Chairperson, Mr Ignatius Kiwanuka Koomu, said: “The Ministry of Agriculture is aware and investigating the disease. We are waiting for the sample results and action from the government.”

Meanwhile, officials said the Nakasongola District Veterinary Officer, Dr Sam Eswagu, has been instructed to put his team on high alert following the news about the strange animal disease.

Nakasongola Resident District Commissioner, Mr Saleh Kamba, last Saturday said the district is already on alert after the news from the neighbouring Nakaseke.

“We are also waiting to get the information from the government about the strange disease but our teams are already informed,” he said.

The Commissioner for Animal Health at MAAIF, Dr Ademun, yesterday  said the ministry is investigating the case in Nakaseke.

“We are aware and our team is investigating the problem in Nakaseke District,” she told this publication by telephone.