Farmers in Kasese Municipality have started counting losses following an outbreak of the African swine fever in the district that has claimed a number of pigs.
The disease has so far claimed 26 pigs from the areas of Kilembe, Namhuga and Nyakabingo III wards and at least five farmers have lost their pigs to the viral disease within one week.
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease which affects both domestic and wild pigs. It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.
It is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and exhaustion in pigs.
The disease is a highly infectious and infected pigs must be slaughtered and their carcasses buried or incinerated.
Mr Stephen Nsibambi a resident of Kyanjuki in Bulembia Division said on Tuesday that eight out of his ten pigs have been killed by the fever.
Nsibambi said that close to Shs 3.6 million has been lost in a spate of one week yet he was planning to auction them so that he raises school dues for his school going children.
"I was comfortable that next academic term won't stress me but now that my pigs have all been killed, I don't know where else I would get the money to send my children to school," a worried worried Nsibambi said.
He said that he saw a number of pigs moving around his small-scale outdoor enclosure where he has raised his domestic pigs and he immediately chased them but he suspects that they were carrying the disease.
Traders usually ferry pigs to Kasese from Rubirizi, Bushenyi, Kamwenge and Bunyangabu districts.
The farmers have accused district veterinary officers for not doing much to guard their pigs from exported swine fever.
Ms Sadress Ithungu, another farmer has also lost two pigs and has vowed never to invest her money in pigs.
"My two pigs were my treasure and I thought they would uplift me from poverty, but now am speechless following the death of my animals", Ithungu stated.
The Kasese Municipal Agricultural Officer, Mr. Asanairi Muhindo Bukanywa has appealed to the farmers to adhere to the quarantine by the authorities that will restrict the movement of pigs and their products from one place to another.
Bukanywa also advised the farmers to carry out general cleanliness around the pigsties as well as spraying them with pesticides.
"We are going to continue sensitizing farmers on how to protect their animals from diseases but they should not to allow any person to access their pigsty" he said.
He advised the farmers to isolate the sick pigs, apply antibiotics and to also sell off the old pigs as some of the measures to have the disease contained.
Historically, outbreaks have been reported in Africa and parts of Europe, South America, and the Caribbean.
Since 2007, the disease has been reported in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Europe, in both domestic and wild pigs.
The nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park has many numbers of Warthogs that are in the same family of pigs and could also spread the disease to domestic animals.