Foot and Mouth disease reported in Bugisu

The foot and mouth disease has broken out in four districts in Bugisu sub region. The affected districts are: Mbale, Manafwa, Namisindwa and Bududa.

The foot and mouth disease - FMD is an infectious viral disease that attacks hoofed domestic and wild animals. It can be spread by infected animals and their products, vehicles and feeds.

Felix Odongo, the Bududa veterinary officer, said  the disease was first noticed in Bumasete and Bududa sub counties on Friday last week.

He explained that to minimise the spread of the disease to other sub counties, the district has banned the movement of livestock and animal products from the affected sub counties to other areas in the district.

Dr Odongo said they have banned the sale of milk and slaughter of animals in both sub counties.

He said they have written to the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. Ministry for intervention.

FMD causes fever in infected animals followed by blisters, largely in the mouth and feet of cloven-footed animals, such as cattle. "I advise people not to eat the meat from such animals," Dr. Odongo said. Dr. Denis Okello, the Manafwa and Namisindwa District Veterinary Officer, says the disease was first noticed in the district in September.

He said the most affected sub counties in Manafwa district are Mayenze, Bukusu, Buwagogo, Buwabwala and Nakhupa. Dr. Okello so far 15 cases of infected animals from Manafwa district have been reported to his office. In Namisindwa district, so far 70 animals have been reported to be infected by the foot and mouth disease since it broke out last month.

The affected sub counties include Bukhabusi, Tsekululu and Mukoto.

According to Dr. Okello, most of the farmers are ignorant about the disease and continue eating meat from infected animals.

Dr. Michael Wandukwa, the Mbale Veterinary Officer, said numerous cases of infected animals have been reported in Namabasa, Nakaloke, Namayoyi, Lwasso, Bukasakya, Bungokho, Mutoto, Bukonde and Busano sub counties.

According to Dr Wandukwa, the first case of the foot and mouth disease was reported in May this year.

He said they carried out vaccination in the affected sub counties and need to do more.

Dr Wandukwa said one of the challenges they face is enforcement, which is very difficult in rural areas.

Patrick Wanzala, a resident of Nakaloke town council in Mbale said his four cows were attacked by high fever for three days followed by blisters in the mouth and on the feet, which affected their movement.

Wanzala said he tried to treat the animals  in vain.

A retired veterinary officer in Mbale who spoke to us on condition of anonymity blamed the spread of the disease on the ministry of Agriculture which he said had failed to take action when the first cases were reported in May.

"I blame the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for failing to impose quarantine in Mbale district," he said.

He expressed fears that Mbale being on the high way, the foot and mouth disease will spread to more districts.

In 2014, the Agriculture ministry imposed quarantine in Eastern and North Eastern Uganda districts to contain the spread of foot and mouth disease.

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