Farmers risk losing livestock as outbreak of lumpy skin disease bites

Farmers risk losing livestock following an outbreak of lumpy skin disease.

Two cows have been reported dead in Murarandia, Kahuro sub-county after they contracted the viral disease.

Symptoms of the disease were spotted a week ago, with farmers accusing livestock officers of failing to respond to their pleas.

The farmers said they could not afford the Sh4, 500 vaccination per cow. More cases were reported in Tuthu village, Kangema. Peter Mwangi, a farmer from Kahatia, said his three cows might die.

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Mr Kahati blamed the spread of the disease on movement of people who got into contact with infected animals.

According to the Centre for Food Security and Public Health, the disease is “primarily spread from one animal to another by insects, such as mosquitoes and biting flies. Less commonly, the virus may be spread by direct contact to the skin lesions, saliva, nasal discharge, milk, or semen of infected animals”.

County Agriculture and Livestock chief officer Peter Njangi, said a vaccination plan had been communicated to farmers in affected areas. Njangi said farmers had been advised to take animals for vaccination to be coordinated by the county government.

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“Announcements will be made in all places, including churches, to ensure animals are vaccinated to control the disease,” said Njangi.

Veterinary surgeon Simon Gichuru told farmers to control movement of people in cow sheds.

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“There are advanced and cheaper ways to administer treatment to sick animals but vaccination is crucial,” said Dr Gichuru.

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FarmersAnimal diseasesAgriculture and LivestockMurang'a County