Farmers in Mt Kenya have been warned of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Mt Kenya Livestock breeders Association Aberdare West region coordinator William Githua urged county governments to launch vaccination.

Mr Githua told the Smart Harvest that the disease has been detected in Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyandarua and Murang’a counties.

“The disease starts during rainy seasons and is one of the most dangerous anti-trade threats in livestock. Sadly in the past, vaccination drives have failed to contain the disease hence requiring new and effective measures to help breeders,” he said.

Already, the Veterinary Research Centre in Nairobi has promised technical support to farmers in dealing with the menace.

South Africa Type 2 has been identified as the strain of the disease.

The other four are cell type O, A, C and South Africa Type 1.

South Africa Type 2 strain was first detected in the country in 1980 but disappeared from the veterinary radar. Last week during a public forum in Njoro Sub County, Bahati MP, Kimani Ngunjiri lamented that farmers had lost over 500 dairy cows to the South Africa Type 2 strain.

“I have lost five dairy cows to the killer disease. To cope, we have resorted to traditional therapies like administering busaa and magadi soda concoctions to try and save our cows,” said Ngunjiri.

Other diseases that the Veterinary Research Centre associates with the wet season are anthrax, foot rot, black quarter and fevers.

The centre says ongoing biannual vaccination programmes have eradicated the other cited diseases. A private veterinary practitioner, Thuo Wainaina, warned farmers against relying on quacks to treat sick animals.

“Farmers need to liaise with the county livestock department to address any suspicious case,” he said.

He also warned farmers against using unorthodox methods to manage the disease.

“Busaa and Magadi Soda concoction will only intoxicate the cow. A qualified veterinary officer is the only one who can help you by taking the animals’ blood samples and after a lab test will identify the type of strain at play and administer the right vaccine,” he said.

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