Fears of foot and mouth disease outbreak in Murang’a

Alarm has been raised in Murang’a County following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in parts of Maragua division.

In Ichagaki and Nginda locations, ten cows have died with several others displaying symptoms related to the disease.

The disease spread through movement of animals from one village to the other, as well as people visiting cow sheds, the local county government says.

Farmers have accused Murang’a County Government of slow response after the outbreak was reported a week ago.

According to Peter Kamau, the number of farmers in Murang’a South region displaying symptoms related to the disease could be higher.

He said many of the farmers were awaiting treatment from the veterinary department as they could not afford to engage the private veterinary practitioners.

“The animals displayed symptoms last week and most of the farmers were forced to embark on use traditional methods,” said Kamau.

Mercy Karungari from Kandara said she has been forced to invest heavily in vaccination of her animals in fear of suffering loses.  “The county government should be alert to deal with the situation not to wait until the disease has ravaged the villages,” said Karungari.

 An official of Murang’a County Cooperative Creameries Julius Maina said they raised an alarm after farmers reported. “Livestock department ought to have taken action immediately the outbreak was reported. There are some villages where vaccination has not been effected,” said  Mr Maina.

County Agriculture and Livestock Executive Albert Mwaniki confirmed the outbreak mainly in Maragua division. He said the outbreak has been reported in isolated parts in the county, with veterinary officers mobilized to embark in a vaccination exercise.

“So far 20,000 animals have been vaccinated mainly in Saba Saba area in Makuyu division,” said the executive.

Mwaniki said public health officers have been conducting civic education warning the locals against slaughtering sick animals.