Rwanda will be on the alert following an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever, a livestock disease which kills animals, especially pigs, now besieging farmers in Uganda with a possibility of spreading to the whole East African region.
The Ugandan State Minister for Animal industry, Major Bright Rwamirama, told The New Times in Kampala that the disease known for its quick dispersal has been confirmed in the country.
“The Agricultural ministry has received reports of the outbreak of the threat in different districts of Uganda like Wakiso and Jinja,” Rwamirama said.
He said that so far, 20 cases have been reported with symptoms which include fever, reddening of the ears, discharge from the eyes, as well as increased pulse and respiratory rates.
All East African farmers have been urged to be vigilant against this epidemic which spreads very fast.
Agriculture Minister, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, told The New Times that Rwanda has not recorded any cases so far, but the Ministry is on a high alert to avoid any cross-border transmission of the disease.
“I don’t know of any case so far, but if that is the case, we have to be very careful. We have a livestock disease alert system working, if it is there; we will have to act quickly to put mechanisms in place to prevent its spreading,”
“We also have a treaty in place for EAC member states to prevent cross-border diseases,” Kalibata said.
The disease is common in sub-Saharan Africa. Its incubation period is five to 15 days. Animals could die in a week after infection, and pregnant sows suffer abortion.