Rwanda: Blame game as disease claims goats in Eastern Province

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 9 2019
goats

Local officials are urging farmers to report immediately any suspicious signs of the disease. PHOTO | FILE 

In Summary

  • Livestock farmers in Eastern Province have appealed to the government for compensation after they lost their goats to Rinderpest.
  • While the farmers say their goats died after vaccination, local officials insist the goats which died had already contracted the virus by the veterinarians visited the area.
  • These counterclaims and appeal for compensation are happening at a time local veterinarians are carrying out vaccinating livestock to control the spread of the highly infectious viral disease commonly known locally as Muryamo.

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By LEONCE MUVUNYI

Livestock farmers in Eastern Province of Rwanda have appealed to the government for compensation after they lost their goats to Rinderpest.

While the farmers say their goats died after vaccination, local officials insist the goats which died had already contracted the virus by the veterinarians visited the area.

These counterclaims and appeal for compensation are happening at a time local veterinarians are carrying out vaccinating livestock to control the spread of the highly infectious viral disease commonly known locally as Muryamo.

Rinderpest affects cattle and is caused by paramyxovirus. Signs vary depending on the strain of the virus and the susceptibility of the host. Generally, there is a sudden onset of fever, followed by depression, loss of appetite, reduced milk production, nasal and eye discharges and belaboured, rapid breathing.

Rwanda Today has learnt that the vaccination sparked fear and panic among livestock farmers who alleged that their lost their herd died after exercise.

This is likely to derail the exercise as some farmers are reluctant to have their goats vaccinated.

According to the district officials, over 29,600 goats have been vaccinated across the district and 49 goats among them have showed similar symptoms. Vaccination of the goats began just a few hours after start of the campaign some of the goats died.

During a recent visit in Kiziguro sector of Gatsibo district, Rwanda Today discovered that more than 10 goats died after vaccination in Akabagendo village of Ndatemwa Cell in Kiziguro sector.

“Four goats have already died and there are other two that are in critical conditions,” Alvera Kamaraba, told Rwanda Today.

According to the farmers, their goats started showing symptoms by losing appetite and having a fever, just after vaccination. Before the vaccination, the farmers claim their stock were healthy.

“After vaccinating them the spot of injection started swelling, they lost appetite and lost strength,” said Domithile Kanyange, a resident of Ndatemwa Cell. The farmers now want the government to compensate them as they blame their losses on the vaccination.

“I used to get everything of the household needs and paying the insurance fees for the goats. We are appealing to the government to compensate to find a source of livelihood,” Mr Kanyange added. However, local officials maintained that the vaccination was done to prevent the viral disease from spreading.

“The vaccination aims at curbing the disease, and we have established that those goats are dying because they have been vaccinated while they had already the virus, which was still in the incubation period,” said Anastase Niyonzima, sector officer in charge of animal farming.

Local officials are urging farmers to report immediately any suspicious signs of the disease to local authorities.

“Normally during the outbreak of the virus resulted into the ban of the movement of the animals, but we believe the situation is now under control,” Ernest Nsigayehe, director of Agriculture and Natural Resource in the Gatsibo district told Rwanda Today, dismissing allegations by farmers.

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