East Africa Community restricts livestock movement to curb Rift Valley fever spread

Sunday June 24 2018


By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3 news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) has ordered a restriction on livestock movement within the region as part of new measures to limit the spread of the endemic rift valley fever.

This was announced yesterday by the secretariat after a ministerial meeting held here on Thursday to discuss the recent outbreak of the pandemic.

At least 26 people in two counties in Kenya are suspected to have contracted the infectious disease caused by the virus identified as ‘Phlebovirus’ type.

By last Saturday seven of the cases were confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and six of the suspects have since died.

In Rwanda, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources confirmed cases of RVF among cattle after samples were tested at the laboratory.

Some of the three districts affected in Rwanda border Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda.

South Sudan, another EAC member country with large number of livestock after Tanzania and Kenya, reported the outbreak of RVF in March this year. Information is scanty on the situation in the world’s newest nation (South Sudan) but reports indicated it has ever since been well contained.

Agriculture minister Charles Tizeba who attended the Arusha meeting on the crisis could not be reached to comment on the situation in Tanzania where no case has been reported although the government has called for heightenened surveillance.

Following the ministerial meeting on Thursday, the EAC secretariat has been tasked to closely monitor the outbreaks and the countries not yet affected, like Tanzania, to step up surveillance.

Early this week, the Livestock and Fisheries Development ministry said the disease had not crossed into Tanzania.

But it also issued a number of directives to regional and local authorities to take measures to keep the Rift Valley fever out.

“Councils should start educating pastoralists on scientific ways to fight the fever,” the Livestock permanent secretary, Dr Marry Mashingo, said.

The EAC region suffered considerably from the outbreak of RFV in 2006/2007. Several deaths were reported in the Rift Valley regions in Kenya and Arusha and Manyara in Tanzania.