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December 18, 2017

Elgeyo vaccinates cows after foot and mouth disease outbreak

Cows graze in Kimnai near Kipkunur forest in Marakwet West, October 2017. /STEPHEN RUTTO
Cows graze in Kimnai near Kipkunur forest in Marakwet West, October 2017. /STEPHEN RUTTO

The government has banned the sale of livestock in Elgeyo Marakwet following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Already 11 cases have been reported in parts of Sitotwa, Senetwo and Kimnai, where two cows died on Monday.

Read: Livestock ministry launches new foot and mouth vaccine

County livestock and fisheries executive Joseph Kiyeng  said the quarantine has been imposed in all the four sub-counties to contain the spread of the diseases to other areas.

Kiyeng said more animals could be affected since some farmers do not report such cases.

The CEC added all animal auctioning yards will be closed for three to four weeks as the county government begins a vaccination drive.

“All livestock auction yards will remain closed. We don’t want to take risks and lose our cows,” he said on Thursday, noting 312,000 animals will be vaccinated across the county.

“We have made arrangements to vaccinate all cows in the county. We have also alerted neighbouring counties about the outbreak and urged them to begin vaccination.”

Kiyeng urged farmers and traders to seek permission from veterinary officers before transporting animals from one area to another.

“We suspect some farmers transported affected cows from neighbouring counties to Elgeyo Marakwet," he said.

The ban on the sale of livestock comes as farmers prepare to trade big ahead of Christmas festivities and the reopening of schools in January.

But Kiyeng said: “We understand schools will be reopening and that parents plan to sell cows to get school fees. We are taking this difficult step to prevent animal deaths.”

Elgeyo Marakwet is surrounded by pastoralist counties including Baringo and West Pokot, so more cows are at risk of contracting the deadly disease.

“We are ascertaining the number of cows affected and advise farmers to urgently report new cases. They should not eat meat from cows that have died from any disease,” Kiyeng added.

Read: Livestock ministry launches new foot and mouth vaccine

Also read: 400 cattle die as foot and mouth strikes, livestock markets shut

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