Isingiro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Farmers in the Ankole region are troubled by a fresh outbreak of highly contagious anthrax and foot and mouth disease (FMD). The two diseases have been reported and confirmed in the districts of Kiruhura, Mbarara, Kazo, Isingiro, Ibanda, and Sheema.
The outbreak of the two diseases was confirmed by both District Veterinary Officers and the Commissioner of Animal Husbandry in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Anna Rose Ademun.
In Ibanda district, Dr. Hilary Arinaitwe, the District Veterinary Officer confirmed the outbreak of Anthrax in Rukiri, Kaihangara Sub County, Rusheshe Sub County, Kagongo, and Bufunda division Ibanda South claiming the lives of people.
The disease was first noticed in November last year in Kaihangara where 9 suspects were admitted but 6 tested positive and two cows died. More cases were recorded in Mabonwa parish Rukiri Sub-county where one person was confirmed with anthrax and also they were following up with another 12 and two cows that died in Kigarama ward and Bisheshe division in Ibanda municipality.
Mugisha said that high-risk areas have been quarantined and markets suspended in Ibanda and elsewhere to contain the disease.
In Sheema district, Dr. Joseph Amanya said that over 200 cattle from across the district have been infected with FMD and decided to impose a quarantine. He said that they had earlier spotted sick animals in the sub-counties of Bugiongi, Kyangyenyi, and Kakindo Town Council, and later in an emergency meeting chaired by the CAO agreed to close down the whole district to deter the spread.
Kiruhura district has been struggling to contain the spread since November last year and has been under quarantine with all livestock markets closed.
This week, Kazo District confirmed the outbreak of Anthrax, despite the struggle to contain foot and mouth disease that has kept the district under quarantine for the last two months. Anthrax was confirmed in Mirama village, Rwamuranga parish, Kazo Sub County.
According to the district production officer, John Baptist Asiimwe, seven samples were tested and four tested positive for this virus.
Anthrax is a zoonotic infection caused by the gram-positive rod Bacillus anthracis while Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease of many wild and domestic cloven-footed mammals and many other animals.
Common hosts for anthrax include; wild game or domesticated livestock, such as sheep, cattle, horses, goats, and deer.
According to Asiimwe, Anthrax tends to affect hoofed animals, and humans can occasionally become infected through direct or indirect contact with sick animals’ skin, inhalation, or intestinal absorption.
Symptoms shown in humans include; vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite, fever, severe bloody diarrhea, sore throat, and swollen neck among others.
Asiimwe said they have imposed quarantine among more measures in place to curb the spread of the disease.
The LCV Chairperson Kazo, Rev Mugisha Katugunda says they have put efforts to sensitize people against eating dead meat. Katugunda said that they are working with police, RDC’s offices and other local leaders to ensure bio-security surveillance to protect people from losing their lives and cattle because of the two diseases.
A letter signed by Dr. Ademun seen by our reporter shows that FMD has been reported in the Sub Counties of Kabingo, Mbaare, and Rushasha in Isingiro district. She directed districts to impose quarantine with immediate effect as per the Animal Diseases Act, Cap 38.
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Animal Husbandry, Frank Tumwebaze has appealed to farmers and farm workers to strictly adhere to protocols of animal health and disease control on-farm.