Published Date: 2021-02-01 17:16:35
Subject: PRO/AH> Foot & mouth disease - Uganda: (KH) cattle, st pending, RFI
Archive Number: 20210201.8156219
FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE - UGANDA: (KIRUHUURA) CATTLE, SEROTYPE PENDING, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
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Date: Sat 30 Jan 2021
Source: Monitor (Uganda) [edited]
The authorities in Kiruhuura District have banned all animal movements in the district, one of the latest measures to contain spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD). The disease has persisted since November  and has so far spread to the sub-counties of Kikatsi, Kenshunga, Kashongi, Kinoni and Kiruhura Town Council. Each of these sub-counties has at least one farm affected by FMD. Others, including Kikatsi Sub-county, have as many as 8 farms affected by the disease.
"Kiruhura District authorities have stopped all animal movements within and outside the district and suspended all animal slaughter in all centres," the district veterinary officer, Dr Grace Asiimwe, said on [Wed 27 Jan 2021]. "Looking at the pattern of the spread, it is basically through animal movements; farm to farm or to market centres. When we stop that, we think it will help us to stop the spread [of the disease]. Right now you find an infected farm here, another 3 km [about 1.8 mi] away and another 10 km [about 6.2 mi]. The only way to control further spread is stopping animal movements," Dr Asiimwe added.
Early this month [January 2021], 14 dairies in the sub-counties of Kikatsi, Kenshunga, Kashongi, and Kiruhura Town Council, were closed due to the continued spread of FMD in those communities. The authorities stopped all milk collectors and transporters who had been traversing farms, and urged farmers to cooperate and be vigilant.
Dr Asiimwe warned milk vendors who still pick up milk from FMD-affected areas, and said: "We have flagged off mass vaccination in the affected areas." Dr Asiimwe said only government veterinary officers or those cleared by the district veterinary office are allowed to participate in the vaccination against FMD, even if the exercise is arranged by an individual farmer.
Dr Asiimwe said this is intended to guard against unscrupulous veterinary doctors who may undermine efforts to eradicate the disease: "Some veterinary officers are simply doing business instead of treating animals. A farmers engages a private veterinary officer, who then administers underdose so as to save on drugs and 'treat' as many animals as possible [in the community]. Others administer fake or ineffective drugs because some of these farmers are illiterate. If you get vaccine under a private arrangement come to us before you engage a private veterinary doctor."
Mr Emmanuel Kyeishe, the chairperson of Kiruhura Farmers Sustainable Development Union, acknowledged FMD is spreading rapidly in the district saying: "One of the best measures to contain it is total quarantine, but it is also a challenge. We, farmers, depend on selling cattle and their products. We have needs like other people; we fall sick and have to seek medical treatment, we need to look for school fees. If they stop movement of cows and selling of dairy products, I wonder how they want us to survive. It is a dilemma. We need to control FMD but we also need to survive."
Mr Kyeishe said the disease could have escalated as a result of failure to apply appropriate measures such as regular vaccination and containing/eliminating the disease from the just few farms where it started from. He said banning movement of livestock in the district will be hard to implement because farmers will not just accept to die [of hunger] when one can sell cattle to save their lives.
The district chairperson, Mr Sam Katugunda, said they know people have needs and that closure of livestock markets, banning movement of livestock and milk and the closure of slaughter centres comes with great inconvenience but they need to cooperate in order to get rid of the disease. "We did not want to wait for intervention by the Ministry of Agriculture; if the central government was to order quarantine, that quarantine would last 3 to 5 years. We understand the pain but we urge people to depend on other sources of livelihoods," Mr Katugunda said.
[byline: Alfred Tumushabe]
[For the location of the FMD virus in Kiruhura district in south western Uganda, see map at <tinyurl.com/e24dy7lw>.
Information in the serotype of FMD virus, causing the current involved spread, see the following information available from the WRLFMD-Pirbright Institute website at http://www.wrlfmd.org/east-africa/uganda:
"FMDV SEROTYPE / YEARS (NOT COMPREHENSIVE)
Untyped/ 2007, 2009, 2014, 2017, 2019
O/ 1955-1959, 1961-1976, 1978, ?, 1996, 1998, 2000-2009, 2011, 2014-2017, 2019
A/ 1953, 1956-1976, 2002, 2013, 2016, 2019
SAT 1/ 1953, 1959, 1961, 1970-1974, 1978, 1997, 1999, 2007 (African buffalo), 2013, 2015, 2016
SAT 2/ 1956, 1958-1959, 1966-1976, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007 (African buffalo), 2013-2014, 2016, 2017
SAT 3/ 1970, 1997 (both only in African buffalo), 2013 (sub-clinical in cattle)
Note: All 3 SAT serotypes are probably endemic in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) population."
Information on the serotyping results of the FMD virus currently circulating in Uganda would be appreciated.
Vaccination against FMD, when carried out in Uganda, involved cattle only, covering a limited percentage of this species' population. The most recent vaccination statistics available refer to 2018: 383 cattle heads reportedly vaccinated, out of a total of about 15.3 million head. - Mod AS