Foot and mouth disease remains a headache to cattle keepers

Ugandan cattle keepers are bound to keep on incurring more losses attributed to the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease.

This is because the high cost of treating the disease has made it difficult the dream to completely kick out the foot and mouth disease in Uganda seems a nightmare to both government and the herders.

The viral disease affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, was first reported by authorities in Gweri, Soroti district in late June.

Soon after, it was reported in Ngora, Kumi, Bukedea and Mbale districts.

In an interview with The Nile Post, Dr Moses Dhikusooka Tefula, a foot and mouth disease expert at National Livestock Resources Institute said each cow requires two dozes of foot and mouth vaccination in a year each costing 70,000.

This makes it very expensive for government and the cattle keepers to afford the doses.

Government requires over Shs8.4 billion per year to vaccinate over 12.8 million cattle in the country.

Livestock are among the few tradable commodities possessed by poor households in the arid and semi-arid regions and the infestation of different animal with diseases affect all livestock owning households and actors such as traders, transporters and all people employed in the livestock sector.

The out break of foot and mouth disease doesn’t only affect individual but its also impacts on the export volumes of beef.

"Our livestock doesn’t pass through the international borders whenever there is an outbreak of foot and mouth disease," Dr Dhikusooka said.

Dhikusooka said the only way foot and mouth disease can be eradicated is only if government

vaccinates all livestock in the affected areas.

Vaccination of tick and mouth disease is expensive because it’s an imported product from Kenya and Botswana and some times from South Africa.

"Being a virus, it requires mass vaccination that can contain the speed of the disease in the country and as researchers we are working tooth and nail to see that we can develop a vaccine locally but we need funds to set up a facility," Dhikusooka said.


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