Mandera County government has increased surveillance after Rift Valley Fever broke out in northeastern region.
The county which has long border with Somalia has put in place measure to avert the epidemic disease.
Mandera Director for Veterinary Services Claudio Sortum who spoke to the media said Mandera county is on high alert as the disease can cross over into the county any means.
“We have decided to take this early opportunity to caution our livestock keepers to be on high alert considering that this disease has already caused deaths in Wajir,” he said.
Locals to be Vigilant
The officer has urged locals living near Mandera’s border with Wajir County to look out as the disease could easily spread and affect both livestock and humans.
“Pastoralists in Danaba, Shirshir, Elrhamu, Dandu, Kutulo and Burumayo and other areas bordering Wajir should report any suspected signs of this disease to our officers immediately,” he said.
According to Mr. Sortum, the county would set aside an emergency fund to prevent any eventuality.
“We are in the final stage to earmark funds for emergency cases. The leaders and the officers are working round the clock set pre-emptive measures,” he said.
The health officials in the county have been in a seminar to evaluate the magnitude the disease could emerge in case it breaks out.
“To understand the matter well, we held seminars for health officials. During the seminars, the officers discussed the possible measures to adopt if the disease reaches here,” Mr. Sortum.
Closing down Slaughter Houses
Mr. Sortum noted that a vector control plan is underway and will be implemented soon.
“We have announced the closure of all slaughterhouses in areas bordering Wajir until we eradicate the threat. The situation is classified as a medium risk,” he said.
Mandera is also considering restricting movement of livestock along the Wajir-Mandera boundary.
Conference for Livestock Market Council
Members of Kenya Livestock Marketing Council have convened in Garissa town to discuss the issue as it will have an impact on the economy of the sector.
The chairperson of the council, Dubat Amey said members drawn from Garissa, Wajir and Mandera who met in Garissa have agreed to be on high alert till the situation comes under control.
“We sounded the alarm after floodwaters started receding. The outbreak in Wajir is a warning that the disease may spread to other counties. Livestock moves across these counties freely in search of pasture,” Amey said.
He called on the government to act fast to stop the spread of the disease.
“I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to mobilize resources. Governors should provide emergency funds as we do not want a last-minute rush. We are fed up with press statements about the things being done, yet there is nothing happening,” Amey said.
RVF kills 4 people in Wajir
Health officials in Wajir have banned meat and milk consumption, as well as restricting movement of animals in the affected areas.
Four people had died of the disease in Wajir County and four others were hospitalized late last month after the disease broke out in the county.
At least 200,000 livestock in areas bordering Wajir are at risk of contracting RVF in case planned control measures fail.
The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes.