The New Times (Kigali)

13 November 2012

Rwanda: Foot and Mouth Disease Hits Eastern Province

Veterinary officials have confirmed the isolation of a cattle farm in Mucucu village of Murundi sector, in Kayonza district, where an apparent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease has been reported.

According to the Mayor of the district, John Mugabo, at least 15 out of 70 cows of a farmer only identified as Micombero, were diagnosed with the deadly disease.

The mayor said authorities were still assessing how the disease suddenly broke out in the country.

"We were taken by surprise...local leaders and veterinary officials are working around the clock, to control the spread of the disease. It all comes down to lack of seriousness from some people moving cows illegally," he said.

The outbreak of the disease however, is not only in Kayonza but also in Gatsibo district.

Livestock farmers have been advised to limit animal movement and ensure that livestock from different farms do not mingle.

Traders are also to avoid buying animals that may have come into contact with infected ones and ensure proper disposal of carcasses, preferably by burning or burying them.

Vets from respective districts were however, not available either in office or on phone, for comments by press time.

The vets were presumably in the field assessing the impact of the disease and advising farmers.

Meanwhile, Nyagatare district is said to have for years managed to keep away foot and mouth disease despite its proximity to neighbouring Uganda, where in most cases the disease comes from.

"We put up a very strong fight...foot and mouth disease has been in Ugandan districts neighbouring us for six months now. We never relax, but check cattle movements and spray whatever we suspect to carry the disease," said the Nyagatare mayor, Fred Sabiiti.

The Eastern Province has the highest cattle population in the country.

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