The New Times (Kigali)

15 March 2012

Rwanda: Cattle Keepers Lose Over Rwf 167 Million to Disease

Photo: ILRI
In sub-Saharan Africa 99.9 percent of livestock losses do not appear in official disease reports.

Cattle keepers in Kigali have lost stock worth Rwf 167 million to Brucellosis, a cattle disease caused by the brucella abortus bacteria which leads to miscarriages in the animals.

This was disclosed by the Director of Veterinary Services at the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Dr. Otto Muhinda.

Brucellosis, also known as Bang's Disease in human beings, is a highly contagious human disease caused by the ingestion of unsterilised milk or meat from an animal affected by the bacteria or close contact with their secretions.

Dr. Muhinda revealed that out of the 1,652 cattle that were tested in Kigali, 167 animals were found with the disease.

"These cattle had to be put down because this disease is very dangerous as it even affects human beings especially when they drink fresh uncooked milk from infected cows," Muhinda said.

The testing exercise, which was carried out between October last year and January this year in Kigali, will be conducted in the other four provinces soon.

When asked about the way forward, Dr. Muhinda said that in addition to killing the already infected animals, preventive measures are being carried out.

"We have been sensitising the population to create awareness on this disease. We shall also prevent it through vaccination," he said.

Meanwhile, RAB is working hard to make Rwanda a Foot and Mouth disease-free zone.

"Rwanda is the only country in Eastern Africa where this disease has been practically eliminated through strict procedures against illegal cross-border animal movement; this has been made possible with the Police's assistance," he said.

He further said that RAB is now implementing strategies that will be considered by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health, worldwide, with powers to declare countries free of animal diseases.

When the country is declared free of Foot and Mouth Disease, it is allowed to export animal products like beef, milk and other diary products.

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