NAIROBI, March 16 (NNN-KBC) — A quarantine has been issued for movement of livestock in West Pokot County in western Kenya after a suspected outbreak of foot and mouth disease there.

Several livestock markets there have also been closed down to help contain the spread of the disease which can wipe out herds of livestock.

The Chief Officer in charge of livestock, James Akudian, said the disease was recently reported in animals in Uasin Gishu County and is feared to have spread to West Pokot County.

He added that samples had been sent for further analysis and the veterinary services, in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus, have rolled out a mass inoculation exercise of livestock. They have also mobilized a team of Veterinary experts to monitor the situation.

The most affected area where the cases have been reported is within the Pokot South sub-county.

Farmers have been urged to be on high alert although the situation is under surveillance.

Livestock rearing is the main economic activity in West Pokot County and Akudian said the closure of markets and quarantine would be lifted once the situation was contained. He appealed for patience.

FMD is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease which affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for approximately two to six days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet which may rupture and cause lameness.

The disease has severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.

Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope and deer.

Source: KBC