Slaughter houses and butcheries in Isiolo County have been closed for 14 days following an outbreak of Rift Valley fever disease.
The County department of livestock confirmed that samples of blood taken from animals in the area tested positive for the Rift Valley fever.
Isiolo County has 101,425 heads of cattle, 152,164 sheep, 166,549 goats and 9957 camels and falls in the arid and semi-arid land of Kenya where livestock is the main economic activity.
The disease has so far killed six people with 26 others hospitalized with the spread being the first one since the 2006/2007 season when 234 people were killed.
Government launches livestock insurance policy to help farmers prevent losses
Water harvesting increases Mwingi farmer’s livestock herd
Uasin Gishu farmers decry loss of livestock to mysterious animal
Vaccination in cows
Rift Valley fever affects cattle, sheep, goats and camels and is transmitted through contact with contaminated blood through slaughtering, butchering or veterinary procedures.
In livestock, the affected animals normally abort but there is a 100 per cent mortality rate in the young ones such as calves and lambs.
In human beings, the disease causes headaches, fever, muscle and joint pains and has a 50 per cent mortality rate in case of hemorrhagic fever form that leads to vomiting of blood and bleeding from the nose and gums.
To control it, affected animals are isolated from the rest and animals should not be slaughtered.
The number of cattle and calves slaughtered in abattoirs rose by 5.3 per cent from 2,460.2 thousand in 2016 to 2,590.0 thousand in 2017 according to the latest economic survey report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
During the same period, the total number of goats and sheep slaughtered increased by 12 per cent to stand at 9,206.7 thousand. The number of pigs slaughtered increased for the third consecutive year, to 360.1 thousand in 2017.
The increase in the number of livestock slaughtered was attributable to the increased livestock off take occasioned by drought experienced during the period under review to cushion from losses.
The livestock sector contributes about 12 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 40 per cent to the agricultural GDP and employs 50 per cent of agricultural labor force.
About 60 per cent of Kenya’s livestock herd is found in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), which constitute about 80% of the country. It is estimated that 10 million Kenyans living in the ASALs derive their livelihood largely from livestock. Livestock play important roles in Kenya’s socio-economic development and contribute towards household food and nutritional security.