By WAINAINA NDUNGâU
The Government has sounded an alarm over an outbreak of the deadly foot and mouth disease in Kieni, Nyeri County.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Livestock Development said 12 cases of the disease have been recorded in three locations in the vast area which alternates between being a bread basket in favourable weather and a food aid intervention area in dry weather.
"We have treated six animals at the Solio settlement scheme, three in Chaka market and three near Nanyuki. We also quarantined the animals except in Solio which lies outside our administrative area," said Kieni East District Livestock Officer Dr David Ndungâu.
Ndungâu said he expected the cases of the disease to escalate as the dry weather spell continues this month and in March adding that at least 10,000 doses of the anti-FMD Fotivax vaccine were needed to adequately cover vulnerable animals in the area.
In its monthly report for January, the National Drought Management Agency project also reported FMD outbreak in Gakawa and Thegu locations in Kieni East District.
"The district veterinary office moved in and instituted measures to prevent further spread of the disease to other parts of the district," said the agency report released by information and documentation officer, Kiragu Kariuki.
The outbreak may have emanated from neighbouring Laikipia County, which has large number of pastoralists who occasionally move their livestock to Kieni in search of pasture.
Dr Ndungâu described the FMD situation in Laikipia as endemic saying it had been worsened by dry weather rendering Kieni vulnerable.