UGANDA – An outbreak of Clostridial Diseases persists in Uganda,  enormously affecting livestock farmers.

Clostridial diseases are a group of severe diseases caused by Clostridia bacteria found in soil and sometimes in faecal matter where they can survive for long periods of time. They are most frequent during the dry season.

The common diseases are tetanus, blackleg, pulpy kidney, botulism and enterotoxemia.

Most clostridial bacteria occur naturally in the infected animal’s gut where they form highly resistant spores which pose a threat to the animal’s life.

The clinical signs of clostridial diseases include a sudden onset of lameness, high fever and swollen limbs. Death usually follows within 12 to 36 hours.

In Uganda, the first case was reported at the end of the last year in Rwemikoma Sub-county and the disease has spread throughout other counties like Engari County and Kazo, Buremba, Nkungu, Kanoni and Kazo sub-counties.

Farmers are reporting the deaths of their cattle with John Miremba, a resident of Nkungu village, saying that he has lost 10 cattle in the past two weeks.

The sick animals presented symptoms like weight loss and low appetite and when they died, their lungs were found to be filled with fluid and the beef turned yellow, according to Miremba.

Other farmers are also reporting infected livestock, insisting that the loss is affecting their livelihoods.

Dr Ronald Kiyemba, a veterinary officer from Kazo district reported that a total of 571 cows have died since the outbreak of the disease.

He said that farmers have been taking their cattle for vaccination which proved futile and they, therefore, had to stop vaccinating the animals and resort to using the OX drug.

Oxytetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic frequently used in veterinary medicine for gastrointestinal and respiratory system diseases mainly for aerobic microorganisms.

A Member of Parliament for Kazo District, Dan Kimosho, recently raised the issue as a matter of national concern to the floor of parliament.

In response, the Speaker of Parliament, Anitah Annet Among tasked the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to conduct a study on the attack of cattle by clostridial diseases across the country.

In addition to vaccination as a preventive measure, animals should also receive supplementary protein and phosphorous.

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