Disease outbreak leaves trail of livestock deaths

Livestock farmers in Baringo North sub-county have lost hundreds of animals to an outbreak of lumpy skin disease.

The viral disease was first reported in Ayatya, Kinyach, Marigut, Barwessa, Bartabwa, Kabartonjo and Kaboskei two months ago.

Although a quarantine has been imposed by the county government to prevent further spread, many farmers have made heavy losses.

“More should be done because the majority of farmers who depend on livestock will suffer,” said Michael Chesan, who has lost three animals to the outbreak. He fears he will not be able to raise school fees for his daughter.

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No vaccination

“I have not paid her school fees. I was expecting to sell some cattle to raise money but now I am stranded,” he said.

The quarantine has also complicated matters for livestock traders, who cannot buy or sell animals.

“For the past two months, I have not been purchasing or selling livestock from the sub-county following the outbreak,” said Samuel Chemorong from Marigut.

Affected residents accused the county government of not coming up with a vaccination programme to curb the outbreak. They said most of them could not afford vaccines for the disease.

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“We have informed the authorities about the disease but nothing has been done to avoid more livestock deaths,” said one resident.

Sub-county Veterinary Officer Micah Kabon said plans were underway to vaccinate more than 50,000 animals once funds were available.

“We are planning to purchase vaccines, but we are not sure when the programme will be rolled out,” he said.

Dr Kabon called on farmers to be on the look out for symptoms of the disease and report them to veterinary officers as soon as possible.

“The greatest loss from the disease is a decrease in milk yield, reduced value of the hide, poor quality of beef and losses associated with anticipated deaths,” he said.

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He attributed the outbreak to an increase in mosquitoes after recent rains.

Meanwhile, goats and sheep have been struck by Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCP) disease, a bacterial condition that damages the lung tissue and starves it of oxygen.

Signs of CCP include depression, dullness, weakness and lethargy, fever and weight loss. Infected animals also exhibit respiratory difficulties including coughing, laboured breathing and nasal discharge.

Livestock farmersBaringo North sub-countylumpy skin diseasecounty governmentBaringo County