No rinderpest, says Kenyan government
THE KENYAN government has refuted reports of an outbreak of rinderpest in the country, as well as the threat of it spreading from neighbouring Tanzania.
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett said Kenya had a surveillance programme that ensured there was no re-emergence of the disease in the country.
“This surveillance programme also ensures other important trans-boundary animal diseases are controlled to safeguard our livestock herds and trade,” Bett said in Nairobi.
Local media had reported there was the threat of an outbreak of rinderpest in Kenya. The reports said the disease had already killed thousands of livestock in neighbouring Tanzania, with the government on high alert over a possible occurrence in Kenya.
However, Bett said rinderpest, a devastating contagious animal disease also known as cattle plague, which affects cloven hoofed animals, mainly cattle and buffaloes, had been eradicated the world over in 2011.
Kenya had eradicated the disease in 2009 and a certificate to that effect had been issued by the World Organization for Animal Health.
Bett said an outbreak of anthrax in wild animals in Tanzania had sparked the rinderpest rumours.
“We have official confirmation from the veterinary authorities in Tanzania that the outbreak was indeed anthrax and not rinderpest,” Bett said.
Rinderpest is one of the deadliest livestock diseases, capable of killing 90 percent of animals in an area in just 10 to 15 days.
The disease’s symptoms include fever, mouth lesions, discharge from the nose and eyes, diarrhoea and dehydration. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has declared the world free from rinderpest but it is still found in isolated cases in Africa. – Xinhua