Government denies fears of Riderpest outbreak

By Judith Akolo

The government has denied fears of a Rinderpest outbreak in the country saying Kenya became Rinderpest free in 2009.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has further allayed fears of an outbreak in Tanzania saying, the Kenyan neighbor has only reported cases of anthrax outbreak.

The CS says Kenya has heightened surveillance for anthrax.

In a statement, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett says, the anthrax outbreak should not be confused for Rinderpest which was eradicated in Kenya in 2009 and a certificate issued to that effect by the World Organization for Animal Health in 2011.

“We however, have official confirmation from the Veterinary authorities in Tanzania that the outbreak was indeed Anthrax (Kimeta in Kiswahili) and NOT Rinderpest (Sotoka in Kiswahili),” said the Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett in a statement.

The government has in the meantime reassured livestock keepers that animal disease surveillance and control systems against events of trans-boundary animal disease incursion is up to scratch and that there is no cause for alarm.

Bett said Kenya has an active and passive surveillance programme that ensures there is no re-emergence of Rinderpest in the country, while keeping a high level of alertness.

Rinderpest is an infectious viral disease of cattle, and other hoofed animals. The disease is characterized by fever, oral erosions, diarrhea, lymphoid necrosis, and then death.

Anthrax is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

It is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria, which are often from infectious animal products.


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