Kenya on Wednesday issued an alert on mouth and foot disease across the country to help curb its spread.
Obadiah Nyaga, the director of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, urged Kenyans to report the outbreak of the contagious viral infection immediately to the nearest veterinary office for action.
“The disease was detected in the country in 2017 where it spread into 26 counties and has continued to date,” Nyaga said in a statement.
He directed all livestock traders to obtain a livestock permit from the local veterinary offices before moving the livestock.
Nyaga noted that the presence of the disease hinders local and international trade and movement of livestock.
The disease is characterized by sores and wounds in the mouth and feet causing salivation and lameness that results into heavy losses in milk production, body condition and death especially in young livestock.
The disease does not have a cure but sick livestock are managed through good feeding and care and treatment of wounds.
Nyaga however blamed the control of disease to uncontrolled livestock movements due to drought, cattle rustling and roadside grazing.
“Very low vaccination converges has left majority of livestock susceptible to disease given that there is 60 million cattle, sheep and goats that require attention,” he added.
He revealed that they are worried that some of the outbreaks are linked to an apparent new variant of serotype “O” that has not been detected in the country but is in circulation in neighboring countries.
“The current vaccine appears to be unproductive but we are upgrading the vaccine to match all serotypes in circulation,” he added.
Nyaga said the government has in the meantime embarked on promoting production of vaccines that offer longer immunity like the recently launched oil based vaccines to ease logistics of vaccinations.
He said the government has also issued guidelines for control measures to be undertaken by the county governments in their efforts to effectively control the disease.