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Goat Plague Wipes Out 700 Animals

HOIMA – A frail district veterinary system is struggling to scale back what seems to be the worst Goat Plague in the western district of Hoima.

So far, it has killed more than 700 goats in three weeks in the oil rich Buseruka Sub County.

Goat Plague, also known as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) or sheep/ goat plague, is a highly contagious animal disease, which afflicts small ruminants.

The disease is wiping out goat herds in the villages of Mbegu, Kabanda, Rwetntale and Kijangi on the shores of Lake Albert.

The disease presents with a sudden onset of depression in animals, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, sores in the mouth, breathing difficulties and cough, foul-smelling diarrhea and death.

Goats started dying three weeks ago. Farmers simply buried the dead animals because they feared to eat the meat.

According to the Abstained Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, a plague is a disease that affects humans and mammals. It is caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually catch the disease after being bitten by a rodent flea carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected.

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Suleiman Waaku, the Mbegu Landing site LC-I chairperson, who lost over 40 goats to the disease, said residents are too scared and saddened by the many deaths of goats. He said the disease outbreak has economically affected farmers since most of them are heavily invested in goat rearing.

Foste Ageya, a resident of Kijanji, who lost 200 goats in three weeks urged the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to intervene and save their animals.

“The dead 200 goats are worth over Shs 20 million so this is a big loss, which is going to affect us financially because most of us had invested heavily in goat rearing,” he said

Leonard Onzero has lost 180 goats.

“I suspect the cause of the disease to be the intense sunshine, which led to the loss of quality pasture and forced goats to feed on anything,” a confused Onzero said.

Clever Oringi, who has lost over 50 goats to the disease, said most farmers in the area have lost hope in rearing goats. He asked the government to intervene and have the situation controlled immediately.

Dr Patrick Ndorwa, the Hoima District Veterinary officer, said when they got complaints from farmers, they rushed to the ground and picked blood samples from some of the sick animals and took them to the National Animal Disease Diagnosis and Epidemiology Center-NADDEC. He said the samples turned positive for the plague.

He said the district has secured 3,000 doses to vaccinate the goats.

Ndorwa said currently over 1,000 goats have been vaccinated at Mbegu landing site to help fight the outbreak.

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