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Black quarter livestock disease confirmed in Gulu

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Cattle taking shelter on a farm in Owor Subcounty in Gulu District. PHOTO URN

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu District veterinary department has confirmed an outbreak of black quarter, an infectious and fatal bacterial livestock disease.

The disease was first reported by livestock farmers and local leaders over the weekend in the villages of Patalira, Kal, and Pawel Angany all in Patiko Sub- County where more than a dozen animals had shown symptoms.

Black Quarter disease is an acute infectious and highly fatal, bacterial disease of cattle. The acute nature of the disease makes successful treatment difficult, but there is an effective vaccine available to provide animals with protective immunity.

Black quarter also known as black leg disease is a severe acute, burning, and highly fatal disease of cattle and sheep caused by Clostridium chauvoei. The disease is manifested by high fever and lameness followed by swelling in the neck, shoulder, lumbar, gluteal, and sacral regions.

Alfred Opiyo, the Gulu District Veterinary Officer told Uganda Radio Network Tuesday that the samples extracted from the suspected infected cattle for test on Monday turned positive for black quarter.

According to Opiyo, at least two cattle have already died from the disease adding that several others are reportedly showing signs and symptoms.

Opiyo says Patiko sub-county in particular has been an area prone to black quarter disease and notes that the disease is always spread during the dry season when livestock graze to the surface of the ground.

He warned farmers against eating the carcasses of infected animals while still alive or dead to limit the spread of the disease.

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Opiyo urged the livestock farmers to vaccinate their cattle against the black quarter arguing that the disease falls among those that the government can’t be notified about and thus a farmer has to foot the treatment expenses.

Patrick Komakech, the Patiko LCIII Chairperson however says the government should intervene and offer free vaccines to the farmers since the disease is spreading at a fast rate.

According to Komakech, a total of 12 cattle have so far died from the disease, and rubbished claims that only two had succumbed following the outbreak.

He added that between 150 to 200 cattle have so far been infected in the three villages of Patalira, Nenkityena, and Pawel Angany arguing that if nothing is done, the outbreak could turn disastrous.

“There is no clear data on the magnitude of the outbreak but from the reports on the ground, between 150 to 200 animals are showing symptoms of the disease. We need the government to provide vaccines for the farmers urgently,” said Komakech.

Gulu District Chairperson Christopher Opiyo Ateker noted that the district has taken concern of the outbreak and is already carrying out sensitization within the community. He said the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) will be swiftly informed of the outbreak.

Patiko Sub-County alone has a total of 8,956 cattle according to farmers profiling 2021/2022 out of the total 53,363 cattle in Gulu District.

In a related development, the Gulu District Veterinary Department is set to start conducting mass vaccination of dogs and cats against rabies next week. This is after MAAIF disbursed consignments of 5,000 doses of rabies vaccines to the district.

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