The foot and mouth virus causes high fever in cattle. This is followed by inflammations and occurrence of blisters inside mouths of infected animals
The Government has warned pastoralists in the cattle corridor districts against violating the foot and mouth disease quarantine imposed in April to stop spread of the deadly virus.
"Failure of pastoralists in the districts to observe government's directive to isolate the slaughter, sale and movement of affected cattle has escalated spread of the disease countrywide," state minister for agriculture, Christopher Kibanzanga said over the weekend.
The cattle corridor includes districts of Sembabule, Luweero, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Mubende, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi , Lyantonde, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Sheema and some parts of Karamoja, but Isingiro and Kiruhura are the most affected partly because of laxity at the Uganda Tanzania border.
In an interview to New Vision, Kibanzanga said free movement of pastoralists in search of grass and water at times leads them into the infected territories, which compromises control of the disease.
He said pastoralists also do not use recommended FMD vaccines, putting the livestock at great risk.
The foot and mouth virus causes high fever in cattle. This is followed by inflammations and occurrence of blisters inside mouths of infected animals. The virus may also cause the hooves to rupture, inducing lameness.
The infected animal can hardly move or feed due to the pain in the hooves and sores (in its mouth), which can cause them to die.
The virus can be prevented by vaccination. Eating of beef from infected animals may also cause health complications to humans.
Kibanzanga said his ministry is faced with challenges, including low funding, nomadic pastoral systems, climate change, which makes it complicated to totally eliminate the disease.
"My ministry is working hard to ensure that farmers are sensitised about these problems through the extension workers," Kibanzanga said.
Kibanzanga was speaking to a delegates of the fourth Global Health Security Agenda meeting recently hosted in Uganda who paid a curtsey call to the Ministry`s National Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) in Entebbe.
All Animal disease diagnosis in Uganda is done at NADDEC, which is also mandated to carry out routine surveillance, monitoring and control of animal diseases.
NADDEC is overseen by the agriculture ministry.
In 2014, FMD hit about 30 districts countrywide and theGovernment imposed a quarantine on the sale of beef and dairy products. The quarantine was lifted six months later, however, the disease struck again last year and several livestock farmers in central region lost a considerable number of animals.