Nelly Bassily | January 12, 2009
Slaughterhouses and livestock markets have been closed in seven northern Ugandan districts, as an outbreak of foot and mouth disease continues.
At least 300 head of cattle have died from the disease, which began spreading through the region in late 2008. The affected districts are: Amolatar, Amuru, Apac, Dokolo, Lira, Oyam, and Pader.
Foot and mouth disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, goats, sheep, and swine. Signs of foot and mouth disease include fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats, and between the hooves.
Mortality is very high in young animals that contract the disease. It is rarely fatal in adult animals. However, affected animals produce less milk and may remain weak and debilitated.
The virus that causes foot and mouth disease is carried in all the excretions and secretions of an infected animal. To prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease, farmers should practice good sanitation in areas where livestock is kept. They should also take steps to ensure that livestock, people, and equipment do not bring disease onto their farm.
In northern Uganda, vaccines and quarantine activities are being used to control the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
-For the World Organization for Animal Health’s fact sheet on Foot and Mouth Disease, visit: http://www.oie.int/eng/ressources/FMD_EN_DISEASE_CARD.pdf.
-For Farm Radio International’s “Guide to some important livestock diseases,” go to: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/63-1script_en.asp.