County launches vaccination drive against Rift valley fever

The county government plans to vaccinate at least 70,000 cattle against Rift Valley fever in Baringo South Constituency.

The disease has so far killed over 500 livestock, mostly goats and sheep, at Kiserian in the past two months.

This has left many families that rely on livestock without a source of livelihood.

Baringo South veterinary officer Julius Cheruiyot yesterday said vaccination was started after samples taken to government laboratories were positive for Rift Valley fever (RVF).

“We have started a vector control programme to provide chemicals to treat animals that have been infected by the disease to prevent its further spread,” said Dr Cheruiyot.

Vector control is any method to limit or eradicate mammals, birds, insects or other arthropods, collectively called ‘vectors’ that transmit disease pathogens.  

Nasal discharge

Symptoms of RVF in livestock include nasal discharge, excessive salivation, and loss of appetite, weakness and diarrhoea.

In human beings, the disease is spread through contact with infected animals. Symptoms include backache, weight loss, dizziness, liver abnormalities, and headache and muscle pain.

Before RVF was diagnosed livestock were being treated for blue tank disease, which is caused by flood waters.

However, the high number of abortions, especially in goats and sheep, raised the alarm, prompting testing for RVF.

Cheruiyot said veterinary officers were working with local administrators to educate residents about the disease.

He warned against consuming meat from uninspected carcasses. "Dead animals should be buried,” he said.

Livestock get infected by RVF through mosquitoes that breed higher during heavy rains. Cases of RVF have been reported in Baringo, Kajiado, Garissa, Lamu, Mandera and Tharaka Nithi.

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Rift Valley feverBaringo Southoutbreaks of rvf