Wild Animals at Risk of Foot and Mouth Disease

1798 Views Nwoya, Uganda

In short
The disease is believed to have originated from Teso region in eastern Uganda where livestock for the cattle restocking programme were brought from and distributed in the district late last month. In Teso where the outbreak started, authorities have already closed up to five livestock markets to contain further spread of the virus.

Authorities in Nwoya district have warned that buffaloes and antelopes in Murchison falls national Park may be at a high risk of contracting foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious livestock viral ailment that recently broke out in different parts of the country.

Recent cases were reported in Alero and Koch Goma sub-counties in Nwoya district. But because the area borders the National Park, the disease could spread to the wildlife causing a much more difficult situation for Uganda’s tourism sector, Nwoya district veterinary doctor James Ukwir says.

Over 150 head of cattle are affected in Nwoya district.

The disease is believed to have originated from Teso region in eastern Uganda where livestock for the cattle restocking programme were brought from and distributed in the district late last month. In Teso where the outbreak started, authorities have already closed up to five livestock markets to contain further spread of the virus.

Nwoya district authorities have imposed quarantine on the movement of livestock and suspended the restocking exercise until the disease has been managed.  They have also acquired 5000 dozes of vaccine for cattle’s at risk. However, the situation is not yet in control.

Ukwir says although UWA has been managing the national parks well when it comes to disease, there is still fear of a possibility of the outbreak in the park.

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According to Conservation through public health, and NGO that promotes wildlife conservation by improving health care for wildlife, livestock and people, there is need to treat the affected animals and also ensure boundaries so that the animals do not get in contact.

Similarly Andrew Seguya, the executive director Uganda wildlife authority UWA is optimistic that the district’s veterinary department will be able to curtail the disease before it spreads. He equally fears that since the park is not fenced, the animals from the park can easily mix up with those around the park.
 
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About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.