BULAMBULI- Lumpy skin disease has broken out in Bulambuli District, leaving more than 300 heads of cattle infected.
The first incident was reported in Bunambutye Sub-county last month, where three cows reportedly died before the disease spread to other sub-counties, including Bulegeni, Bulambuli, Muyembe and Sisiyi.
Mr Ronald Akol, the district veterinary officer, confirmed the outbreak and said the disease has left many farmers stranded since vaccination is very expensive.
“It is true the disease has hit the district and it is very contagious. It can only be stopped by vaccination,” Mr Akol told Daily Monitor on Monday, adding that they had written to the ministry of Agriculture on the matter but they were yet to respond.
Mr Akol said the disease can also easily be transmitted through infected saliva.
This occurs when animals share a common drinking place.
“Therefore, when an infected animal drinks from the same place with healthy animals, they have a high chance of getting sick,” he said, adding that although farmers have tried antibiotics, they have not been effective.
Effects of the disease
The disease causes miscarriages and also reduces milk production in cows.
Mr Akol, however, said as a district, they have dispatched a team of extension workers to carry out sensitisation about the disease in the affected areas.
“Most of our farmers are only used to Foot and Mouth disease and they can easily contain it but this is a strange disease and it is very contagious. Our technical personnel are on ground educating and creating awareness as we wait for a response from government,” he said.
Mr John Wanyoro, one of the farmers, said he was surprised when his cow started developing wounds.
“It is a strange disease I had never seen since I started rearing cows. I called one of the agricultural officers, who told me the type of disease,” he said.
Mr Bosco Wepukhulu, another farmer, called for government’s intervention before it is too late.
“The government should help now because this is where we derive our livelihood,” he said.
The Bulambuli District chairperson, Mr Simon Peter Wonanzofu, urged government to speed up their response before the disease spreads to other districts.
“This is a very dangerous disease and it requires immediate action to contain it. It spreads very fast,” he said.
He, however, appealed to farmers to be vigilant and report the disease prevalence to concerned authorities.