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Tharaka-Nithi farmers battling livestock disease outbreak

Thursday January 16 2020

Tharaka-Nithi livestock

Mr Samuel Mutegi, a farmer from Chuka in Tharaka-Nithi County inspects his cows. Farmers in the region are counting losses following an outbreak of anthrax, lumpy skin and foot and mouth diseases. FILE PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Farmers in Tharaka-Nithi County are counting losses following an outbreak of anthrax, lumpy skin and foot and mouth diseases that have already killed a number of livestock.

The most affected areas are the wet parts of Maara and Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituencies that border Mt Kenya Forest.

Other diseases that have been reported are rabies, contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) and sheep and goat pox.

Following the outbreak, the county government, through the department of Livestock and Fisheries, has launched a mass vaccination drive to curb the spread of the diseases and avert further losses.

In a press statement on Thursday by Agriculture Executive Njue Njagi, the reported diseases were termed highly contagious and a threat to livestock production, resulting in economic and livelihood losses.



He said the mass vaccination campaign that started on Monday this week, and which will run until March 4, targets cattle, pigs, dogs and cats.

Farmers are expected to take their animals to designated areas nearest to their farms on the announced dates.

Mr Njagi warned locals against eating meat or drinking milk from the sick animals or any other product to avoid falling sick.

“These diseases are dangerous and people must keep off products of the affected animals,” he said in the statement.

He said diseases such as anthrax affect people who come into contact with carcasses and advised the residents to contact the county veterinary officer any time they have a sick animal.

Farmers will be required to part with Sh50 for vaccination of every cow and pig and Sh30 for each dog and cat.