A yet-to-be identified contagious disease has killed over 100 herds of livestock in several sub counties in Lamwo in the last two months causing panic among residents who are now afraid of losing entire livestocks if the disease is not checked.
According to Mr George Kibwota of Potika Village in Agoro Sub County who lost 5 heads of cattle since the disease started, the situation is alarming and needs urgent attention.
“Most of our animals start by losing appetite and feeling weak with diarrhoea,” he said.
Adding that, “animal owners are trying to treat the animals by giving them salt and some herbs, including Marijuana, but they have failed to recover.”
Kibwota revealed that the death of the animals has brought panic among residents in the affected areas; who are afraid that the disease may spread to humans.
Another resident affected by the strain in Aweno Olwi village, Mr Michael Obur who has lost 7 goats, said that he was planning to sell the goats to raise school fees for his children, but that is not possible anymore and it leaves him uncertain of where the money for the fees will be coming from.
“I think the future of my children now is uncertain since I may not be able to raise enough money for the school fees for them,” he said.
Officials have called on residents to restrict movement of animals where the disease is suspected in order to help prevent its spread.
The Chairman for Agoro Sub county Mr Ben Owali said that Sub County leaders identified the stain and alerted the District Veterinary Department in early September, but they are yet to receive any adequate response.
Adding further that “an air of uncertainty and panic looms over the residents and may bring with it some negative aspects because some of them have resorted to eating the dead animals.”
Lamwo district veterinary officer, Dr. Bosco Odonga Agena, however any knowledge of an outbreak of the disease in the district.
When this paper called him to find out what had caused the deaths, he feigned ignorance and said he would establish the truth and had not got back to us by press time.
Meanwhile Gulu district on Saturday 27th, October 2012 issued a ban on the movement of cattle and sale of all dairy products in the district.
According to Gulu District Veterinary Officer Tonny Aliro, the declaration followed the death of 60 cattle in the sub counties of Odek, Lakwana, Awach, Patiko and Bobi in Gulu district due to a suspected outbreak of the contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) disease.
Aliro explains that the animals started dying in September with Odek Sub County alone registering 30 deaths. He said that it is suspected the disease filtered into the district following the entry of affected cows from Teso in April this year.
Aliro said that an estimated 25,000 herds of cattle will be vaccinated with the CBPP vaccine once it arrives in the district, since it is not readily available.
Following the return process from internment camps, Acholi sub region is estimated to have a cattle population of only about 42,000 and residents say that the outbreak of the disease will have an impact on their efforts to resettle in their original villages.
Last year, Food and Early Warnings Network reported that at least 19 districts were fighting to combat foot and mouth disease – a highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease that affects cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. The affected districts were Abim, Amudat, Amuria, Bukedea, Bukwa, Bulambuli, Gomba and Isingiro. Others mentioned were Katakwi, Kumi, Kitgum, Nakapiripirit, Pallisa, Rakai, Sembabule Serere, Sironko, Soroti and Tororo.
Early this year, livestock markets in Kabale, Kiruhura, Kabarole and Amuria districts were briefly closed due to the disease outbreak of foot and mouth disease and African swine fever.