Disease wipes out 1,200 livestock in Kerio Valley
An outbreak of a disease suspected to be East Coast Fever has killed more than 1,200 livestock in Kerio Valley in the last three weeks. The disease outbreak has been reported in Marakwet East and West, Pokot Central and East Baringo districts all located in the Kerio valley. Marakwet West district livestock and veterinary officer Dr Joseph Keying confirmed that the outbreak has been reported in the region but could not give details on the number of animals that have died. "The symptoms indicate the disease to be East Coast Fever but we have sent officers to the ground to establish the situation so that we put in place control measures," said Keying.
He said the disease is spread by ticks especially during heavy rains seasons which have been experienced in the valley in the last few month. “It is unfortunate that farmers have lost livestock. They ought to be sensitised about the control measures however there is no cause for alarm,“ said Keying. He said farmers have to dip their livestock at least after every seven days until the end of the rainy season. Keying also denied claims by a section of the farmers that there is foot and mouth disease in the region.
Farmers in the region have called on the government to intervene and help control the spread of the disease. A spokesman for the farmers Richard Kipseret Chepting accused veterinary officers of delaying to act on the situation. “If the situation is not addressed quickly by the concerned department, we are worried of losing more livestock,” said Kirop Cheboi, a farmer who has been affected by the disease. The affected farmers in Koloa, Tot and Tunyo divisions said they have lost cows, goats and sheep.
The disease attacked both indigenous and hybrid livestock. Kibaimwa location chief Jacob Chebet that the disease has caused anxiety among the livestock farmers who practise livestock keeping as their main economic activity. Kiyeng denied that the government has ignored the plight of the farmers adding that livestock extension officers have been sent to handle the situation.