By Rop Janet – Kna Kajiado
Livestock farmers in Kajiado County have been urged to avail their cattle,sheep and goats for vaccination against trans-boundary diseases which are common in the area.
Governor Joseph Ole Lenku while launching the vaccination drive in Maili 46 Iloodokilani Ward, Kajiado West Sub County, revealed that the County’s Department of Livestock Development had embarked on a massive program to vaccinate more than 800,000 livestock against trans-boundary diseases.
The one month drive will see 400,000 heads of cattle vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease, Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and Rift Valley Fever. A further 400,000 sheep and goats will be vaccinated against Blue Tongue disease.
“I encourage our livestock farmers to avail their livestock for vaccinations against Foot and Mouth, Rift Valley fever and Blue tongue diseases. We are targeting 800,000 livestock in the county,” he said.
Ole Lenku said the risk of the diseases has been heightened by increased movement of livestock between Kajiado and Narok Counties as well as across the Sub Counties.
Cross border livestock trade between Kajiado County and Tanzania also poses a danger in the spread of livestock diseases.
Agriculture and Livestock Development Chief Officer Moses Murrunya said Kajiado East, Kajiado South and Kajiado Central Sub Counties will be covered. So far 75,000 livestock have been vaccinated against the disease.
He attributed uncontrolled livestock movement and low vaccination coverage to the fast spread livestock diseases.
County Director of Vertinary Services Jackton Achola cautioned members of the public to be wary of the livestock diseases and avoid eating meat that has not been inspected by health officials since most livestock diseases are deadly to human life.
“I am appealing to locals to be careful and avoid eating uninspected meat especially during traditional ceremonies as foot and mouth disease is deadly to humans” he said
He said his officers have mapped out all areas across the county prone to the disease and they will ensure that all livestock get vaccinated.
“We have not had any reported cases of livestock diseases as of now. There is no outbreak of Foot and Mouth or Rift Valley fever. This is something we do repeatedly as an anticipatory measure” he said.
An outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Kajiado County was reported in Il Bissil in March 2019 with a few cattle succumbing to the disease.
Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven hoofed animals.
It is a viral disease that has no cure but one that can be prevented through vaccination.
The disease is endemic in Kenya and therefore the huge livestock resource can only be protected by vaccination.
It is spread through direct and indirect contact with secretions from infected animals which include milk and semen. The virus can also be spread mechanically through contaminated objects or aerosols or ingestion of contaminated feed. The virus can also enter the body through a broken skin/wound.
Symptoms include fever, blisters in the mouth and in the feet, drop in milk production, weight loss, loss of appetite and cows may develop blisters on teats.It may also result in lameness.