Kamwenge, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Authorities in Kamwenge District have closed butcheries and stopped movement of livestock in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Foot and Mouth Disease from neighbouring districts.
According to the Kamwenge District Veterinary Officer Dr Paul Mbago, they have taken the decision after learning that the viral disease has already ravaged livestock in the neighbouring districts of Kiruhura, Kazo and Ibanda.
Last week, the government imposed a quarantine on five districts in southwestern Uganda following the new outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The affected districts included Gomba, Isingiro, Kazo, Kiruhura and Sembabule where the disease has been detected in many herds.
State Minister for Animal Husbandry Bright Rwamiramar then announced that movement on livestock and livestock products into and out of these districts or through to other districts was banned. Restrictions on the movement of livestock were also imposed on another 24 districts including Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono which are named among the areas at a high risk of an outbreak.
The others include Kalungu, Kiboga, Kiryandongo, Kyankwanzi, Kyotera, Koboko, Mbarara, Lyantonde, Masindi, Nakaseke, Rakai, Nakasongola and Rubirizi. At-risk districts are those bordering national parks as well as those along the transit routes used by livestock traders and exporters.
Dr Mbago explains that even though they have not yet registered cases of the disease in Kamwenge, the measure is necessary especially at a time when they are about to vaccinate livestock in the district including cattle, goats and sheep. He added that the district has already secured 5,000 doses from the government to vaccinate the animals.
However, the animal quarantine and closure of butcheries have already rubbed those engaged in the business the wrong way. Augustine Alinaitwe, the manager of Club Afreka hotel in Kamwenge town, says the ban on the sale of meat will see a huge drop in customers because most of them prefer meat to any other sauce.
Galas Stephen Kiwanuka, a butcher in Kamwenge Town Council, has told our reporter that closing of the butcheries is a big blow to him since the business has been his only daily source of income.
Foot and Mouth Disease is a viral disease of cloven-hoofed livestock and wildlife, including cattle, goats, swine, sheep and buffaloes. It has occurred several times in Uganda since 1953 when it was first confirmed. It is characterized by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves.