9 August 2018

Kenya: Ban on Meat Sale to Hit Hoteliers Hard

Hoteliers in Kilifi County are considering offering customers sea food or meat from Nairobi following the ban on sale of livestock due to an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever.

On August 2, the director Veterinary Services called for the closure of slaughter houses in Malindi and Magarini sub-counties to curb the spread of the disease.

Dr Cornel Malenga said blood samples of livestock in the two constituencies tested positive of the disease.

The animals were from Kanagoni, Kagombani, Mjanaheri and Sabaki.

TOURISM

The outbreak is likely to affect the tourism sector, owing to a imminent boom as the high season approaches.

Dream of Africa, Dream Garden and Tropical Village Resort general manager Alexander Zissimatos said he will have to incur more costs to fetch meat from Nairobi.

Neveetheless, he said he is optimistic that the outbreak will not affect tourism.

"Tourism is picking up and we will be forced to go an extra mile to satisfy our customers," he said, adding that the resort has registered 70 per cent bed occupancy.

NAIROBI MEAT

Similarly, the owner of Olimpia Club in Malindi, Ms Naomi Kimani, said her business will be affected because few customers will trust her meat.

"Unless I show them the receipt. But so long as the outbreak is there many tourists are going to shift their holiday destination from Malindi," she said.

Ms Kimani added that the price of chicken and fish will rise.

On Tuesday this week, County Health Executive Anisa Omar informed the Italian consulate that the situation is under control and there is no need to panic.

On his part, the proprietor of Stars and Gatters Club in Malindi, Mr Erick Mwashigadi, criticized the government for not informing them about the ban.

"We leant of the ban in a WhatsApp group and it is going to affect our businesses since most bars and restaurants in the region buy their meat from butcheries, which have closed down," he said.

MORTALITY RATE

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), RVF is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes and blood feeding flies that mostly affects cattle and sheep.

"When livestock are infected the disease can cause significant economic losses due to high mortality rate in young animals and waves of abortions in pregnant females.

"In humans the disease ranges from a mild flu-like illness to severe haemorrhagic fever that can be lethal," WHO says.

It adds that the "virus was first identified in 1931 during an epidemic among sheep on a farm in the Rift Valley of Kenya".

To curb further spread, Dr Malenga said flooded zones will be sprayed with pesticides.

"We are targeting to spray flooded areas with acaricide to control mosquitoes that transmit the disease to humans," he told the Nation on phone.

In April this year, more than 86,000 people in Tana River and Kilifi counties were displaced by floods after River Tana and Sabaki, respectively, broke their banks after heavy downpour.

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