Ministry moves to check spread of livestock disease
Posted Tuesday, July 31 2012 at 20:13
A massive vaccination of livestock will be launched in the Kerio Valley where about 2,000 animals have died in the last three weeks from a highly contagious viral disease.
The Ministry of Livestock Development said the Peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR) disease that largely affects goats and sheep was diagnosed through tests at the Kabete Veterinary Laboratories in Nairobi.
Bernard Moenga, a ministry official in charge of veterinary disease control, said the samples tested negative for Rift Valley Fever and East Coast Fever.
The disease, he said, was believed to have originated from Ethiopia.
“This disease had in the past few years spread through Turkana, Kerio Valley, Isiolo up to Garissa but was contained,” said Dr Moenga.
Livestock farmers across the expansive Kerio Valley are bracing for economic losses if the disease spreads.
Marakwet West district veterinary officer Joseph Kiyeng said the ministry had started dispatching the PPR vaccines and the exercise would start as soon as possible.“We are going round speaking to the farmers and sensitising them before the start of the exercise, “said Dr Kiyeng.
He said ministry aims to vaccinate over 50,000 livestock in Marakwet district.
Some of the affected farmers said symptoms of the sickness are coughing, acute fever and excessive diarrhoea before the animals die, mostly within a week.
“The diagnosis will enable us to appropriately treat the animals to avert more deaths, “said Chadwick Chelimale, whose herd was affected.
The disease outbreak was reported in Central Pokot district, Marakwet East, Marakwet West, Pokot North, Baringo East and Baringo North all in the Kerio valley.
Dr Kiyeng said animals affected by PPR in severe cases, would pass blood-stained diarrhoea and show respiratory distress. Death may occur within five to 10 days.
PPR predominantly attack goats and sheep, although cattle and pigs develop infections and do not necessarily transmit the disease.
Infected animals present clinical signs similar to those of rinderpest in cattle.