Livestock ministry launches new foot and mouth vaccine

Livestock PS Andrew Tuimur.
Livestock PS Andrew Tuimur.

The government has launched a new foot and mouth vaccine.

Livestock PS Andrew Tuimur said on Wednesday that the oil-based vaccine is cheaper than the one currently being used, and can only be administered once a year per animal rather than three

times a year.

He spoke during the launch of the vaccine at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation headquarters in Nairobi.

“The vaccine will cost farmers Sh215 as opposed to the aquoeus vaccine which is currently in the market and goes for Sh360. The vaccine is also less stressful since the cattle’s can be assembled annually to receive vaccination,” Tuimur said.

He said the vaccine contains a longer immunity of six to 12 months and one can easily differentiate a vaccinated animal from diseased cattle.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven hoofed animals.

Symptoms include fever, blisters in the mouth and in the feet, drop in milk production, weight loss, loss of appetite, cows may develop blisters on teats

and lameness.

Tuimur said livestock diseases lead to losses of more than

Sh24 billion annually.

“Most of the livestock diseases are endemic and pose severe constrains to the livestock industry, and can be prevented by vaccination. Thus, preventive vaccination has high economic returns for serious livestock diseases including foot and mouth,” the PS said.

Tuimur said it is difficult to vaccinate animals in dry areas becuase they have scattered during the drought.

He noted: “We will now be able to converge the animals regionally and vaccinate them once a year against the foot and mouth disease.”

The PS added that in 2011 billions of livestock were lost on drought and this year, the government is slaughtering the weak animals and distributing them to schools and hospitals to mitigate the loss.