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Lumpy Skin Disease Reaches Epidemic Proportions in Elgon Region

The disease presents itself with wounds all over the skin of an infected animal, tears and a discharge of mucus from the Nose and mouth, coughing, lack of appetite and breathing difficulties. According to Wandukwa, the infected animals die within a few days since the disease has no cure.

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Lumpy skin disease, a viral infectious cattle ailment recently detected in the Mt. Elgon region has reached epidemic proportions, veterinary officials have confirmed.

Dr. Michael Wandukwa, the Mbale District Veterinary Officer says more than 50,000 animals are estimated to be infected by the tropical cattle disease, caused by a virus and spread by vectors like houseflies, tsetse flies and ticks.

The disease presents itself with wounds all over the skin of an infected animal, tears and a discharge of mucus from the Nose and mouth, coughing, lack of appetite and breathing difficulties. According to Wandukwa, the infected animals die within a few days since the disease has no cure.

The disease was first reported in Mbale district early this year but was ignored until similar reports were received from neighboring districts in the region midway through the year.  Veterinary departments in the districts of Bududa, Manafwa, Mbale, Sironko, and Bulambuli already expressed concern over the increasing cases of lumpy skin disease.

Wandukwa adds that at this rate, a speedy intervention is needed to ensure that the spread is curtailed.

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Dr. Felix Odongo, the Manafwa district Veterinary Officer says currently they are compiling reports to be submitted to the Ministry. He concurs with his Mbale counterpart saying the situation may get out of hand if it is not arrested early.

Without giving specific figures, Odongo said several animals in his district have succumbed to the disease while dozens of others have had miscarriage as a result of the infection.

According to Odongo, Lumpy skin disease can produce a chronic debility in infected cattle comparable to that caused by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Its mortality rates are as high as 40 percent or more with permanent damage to hides as a result from the skin lesions.

With the latest reports, Wandukwa says the disease is now out of control.

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Dr. Wandukwa said a meeting of all the district veterinary officials from the Mt Elgon region has been summoned in Mbale to discuss ways forward and compile reports to be submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for attention.

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There is no specific antiviral treatment available for LSD-infected cattle.

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