Fight against foot and mouth disease starts
Failure by farmers in Nakuru County to avail their animals for a free vaccination, drives have led to the recurrence of zoonotic diseases in the region.
Livestock chief officer Dr. Enos Amyunzu said Subukia and Bahati sub-counties are the worst hit with cases of foot and mouth disease outbreak.
The foot and mouth disease has also been reported in the neighbouring Nyandarua, Baringo, Laikipia and Narok counties.
The viral disease is infectious and sometimes fatal affecting cloven-hoofed animals; including domestic and wild animals.
He noted that farmers have experienced devastating consequences such as deaths, quarantines and a sharp drop in milk production in the region.
Between July 2018 and June 2019, over 200,000 heads of cattle were vaccinated against foot and mouth, lumpy skin disease and rabies in Nakuru County.
Kuresoi North and Kuresoi South sub-counties led with 51,313 and 30,980 heads of cattle vaccinated while Bahati and Gilgil trailed with 8,200 and 5,704 respectively.
A ring vaccination drive against foot and mouth disease was carried out in July 2019 in Subukia, Bahati, Rongai and Gilgil sub-counties, and immediately the disease started in Bahati.
Ring vaccination is a veterinary strategy to deter the spread of disease by vaccinating only those who are most likely to be infected.
According to Dr. Amuyunzu, many farmers in Bahati practice zero-grazing system and do not present their animals for routine free vaccination drives.
“They hold the belief that their animals are safe due to limited movement of their zero-grazing practices” noted the livestock officer.
He said veterinary officers had been dispatched to sensitize farmers on proper animal husbandry to avert further spread of the disease.
A ring vaccination drive has been launched targeting over 3, 000 heads of cattle in Bahati, Subukia and Rongai sub-counties.
On the already sick animals, Dr. Amuyunzu said the County Government of Nakuru was mapping homesteads for free treatment.
Early this year, the County Department of Agriculture called for bids aimed at increasing the number of veterinary vaccines and drugs.