- Donkey owners in Lamu are seeking reassurance that their animals are not suffering from coronavirus.
- Donkeys are revered in Lamu and their existence is tightly tied to the region’s culture and heritage of the people.
Residents of Lamu island have raised concern following an outbreak of a respiratory disease in donkeys whose symptoms are similar to those of Covid-19.
Residents are worried that the virus might have attacked their favourite animal.
At least 70 donkeys have been reported to be suffering from the disease in just one week, with the number expected to rise as more donkeys are exposed to their sick counterparts with the infection said to have high morbidity.
Many donkeys are presenting symptoms of difficulties in breathing, panting and fatigue.
Speaking on Wednesday however, Lamu county chief officer for Livestock Gichohi Mathenge likened the symptoms to those presented by Equine Influenza, commonly known as the flu, whose major symptoms include difficulties in breathing, clear, watery nasal discharge that sometimes turns thick yellow or green.
Mathenge however said he could not confirm whether or not it was the influenza and that samples had since been collected and sent to Nairobi for confirmatory diagnosis.
“We can’t tell what it is now until the sample results come back and then we shall take on the containment and treatment measures from there,” Mathenge said.
Donkey owners in Lamu are seeking re-assurance that their animals are not suffering from the Coronavirus.
Donkey owner Abdalla Awadh said 10 of his donkeys are currently having the symptoms and worries that his entire flock could become infected if it’s a fatal disease.
“I have taken the 10 to the donkey sanctuary where they are currently admitted as we wait for the test results to know what the problem is,” Awadh said.
Owners have also reported reduced appetite and weakness among affected donkeys meaning they can’t be subjected to the daily cargo-carrying business.
The donkey sanctuary has been admitting all affected donkeys without charges as officials seek to ensure the situation is contained.
In 2013, over 500 donkeys in the town died after they consumed poisonous material from the many open dumpsites in the area.
Donkeys are revered in Lamu and their existence is tightly tied to the region’s culture and heritage of the people.
They are a major form of transport for islanders around the archipelago as automobiles are forbidden.
The archipelago has over 10,000 donkeys out of which over 3,000 are found in Lamu Island alone.
The county government has announced plans to vaccinate over 4,000 donkeys against rabies in an exercise that commences next week.
-Edited by SKanyara