Foot and mouth disease hits Kirinyaga

Cows are vaccinated
Cows are vaccinated in Kirinyaga County against foot and mouth disease. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Livestock farmers in Kirinyaga County are worried following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The disease has been reported at Mutithi area where some animals have died.

Farmers warned that unless urgent measures are taken the disease my wipe out all heads of cattle in the region.

Kariuki Wachira, one of the farmers, is already counting losses after two of his cows died, while six others are affected.

“Two of my animals have succumbed to the disease," said Mr Wachira.


The farmer said he had reported the matter to the County Agriculture Department but nothing has been done on the issue.

"Livestock officials visited my farm and only advised me on what to do to prevent the other animals from contracting the disease. They should vaccinate my animals if they are willing to help me," added Mr Wachira.

The farmers said the disease is spreading fast and told the county government to intervene.

County Livestock Director Dr Gichangi Karimi confirmed the outbreak but allayed fears it is a major threat.

"We are on high alert and there should be no cause for alarm," he stated.

Dr Karimi said the outbreak could have been caused by the influx of animals from the neighbouring counties.

"Local butchers are buying animals from other counties and bringing them to the area for slaughter. The animals are likely to be sick," he added.

Dr Karimi said quarantine would be imposed to prevent the spread of the disease.

"We shall restrict movement of animals as a preventive measure after assessing the situation," he said.

The county also plans to vaccinate all the 80,000 animals in the region against the deadly disease.

Dr Karimi urged farmers to be patient as efforts are made to contain the disease.

Asked whether animals have died, Dr Karimi responded that he was only aware of one.

"As far as I know the situation is not very serious," he said.