Authorities in Kiruhura have issued a total ban on the sale and movement of livestock and their products in the district in a bid to stop the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD).
According to the authorities, the move is in response to failure by the residents to abide by the existing quarantine that was announced in some parts of the district last December after the disease outbreak.
"The district task force has, therefore, decided to impose total FMD quarantine on any animal movement or animal products within and outside Kiruhura District with immediate effect until a stable disease situation is attained," Mr Charles Kiberu, the chief administrative officer (CAO), announced on Tuesday.
Mr Kiberu instructed all sub-county chiefs in the district to stop with immediate effect the movement, sale of animals and their products.
"Despite the efforts put forward by the different stakeholders to control the spread of the disease, outbreaks have continually occurred in disease-free sub-counties," he said.
The CAO explained that many farmers have not cooperated to contain the disease as they have continued to sell livestock and their products to traders who move animals at night.
Mr Abel Rutemba, a dairy farmer in Kakatsi Sub-county, said the quarantine will help reduce the spread of FMD.
"We are trying to limit the movement of milk vendors who move from one home to another collecting milk," Mr Rutemba said.
In response, the head of veterinary services in Mbarara District, Dr Andrew Bakashaba, said they have increased surveillance on the border points with Kiruhura to stop the disease from spreading to their area.
"In the first place, the few outbreaks we already have were from Kiruhura because Kagongi Sub-county neighbours Kiruhura; the same with Biharwe Division, so Kiruhura has been the problem here, especially given that their farmers are not cooperative," Dr Bakashaba said.
Mr Bakashaba said the district has so far been able to vaccinate about 25,000 head of cattle against the disease, but added that they have run out of the vaccine.
"If we can get the vaccine from the Ministry of Agriculture, we can continue with the vaccination exercise but the ministry says they do not have the vaccine," Mr Bakashaba added.
Rubanda starts vaccinating goats
In a related development, Rubanda District veterinary staff on Monday started vaccinating domestic animals, especially sheep and goats, against the killer peste des petits ruminants (PPR) disease.
The district veterinary officer, Mr Cosma Twesigomwe, said PPR, also known as goat plague, is a contagious viral disease that attacks goats and sheep marked by fever, sores in the mouth and diarrhoea, among other symptoms.
Mr Twesigomwe said the vaccination exercise will go on until all the sheep and goats are fully covered. "In 2017, we experienced an outbreak of PPR disease in the district that killed about 2,760 goats and sheep. We appealed to the ministry of Agriculture to avail us with vaccines but it is only now that we got them. The vaccination exercise is going on well," he said.
He said they target to vaccinate about 50,000 sheep and goats.
By Robert Muhereza