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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 13:55(JollofNews) – Authorities in the Gambia have confirmed the outbreak of highly Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) disease in cattle.
The disease, which is infectious and considered the biggest threat to cattle production was discovered in the Central and Upper River Regions of the country prompting the Government of Yahya Jammeh to declare a national animal health emergency.
It has already killed cattle in Niamina Dankunku, where it was first reported and confirmed in August 2012.
The government said the disease is likely to spread to other regions of the country and beyond unless control measures are taken and could kill 200, 000 heads of cattle and a monetary loss of two billion Dalasis.
Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia was last reported in Gambia in 1971 and vaccinations against the disease were last carried out in 1987. And after 41 years of its absence in the country and 25 years of non-vaccination against it, the cattle population is highly susceptible to the disease.
The government said the resurgence of the disease in the country poses a serious threat to the entire national cattle herds which could have disastrous consequences on food and nutrition security and peoples’ livelihoods and could have a significant negative impact on the national economy.
“Our Veterinary Services is not adequately equipped to deal with this major animal health emergency and the resources urgently needed are beyond what the national capability can guarantee,” said Solomon Owens, Minister of Agriculture.
He added: “On behalf of the people of the Gambia and the National Council on Disaster and Food Security, I respectfully bring to your attention the plight of the Gambian families who are entirely dependent on their livestock for their livelihoods.
“The impact of CBPP on these families has been and will be extremely severe with livelihoods, food security, social and development consequences. The projection is that the impact on the national economy will be dramatic with decline in production, scarcity of products, rising market prices and financial losses to public and government.”
As an immediate measure to prevent the rapid spread of the disease to other parts of the country, the Government has temporarily suspended transhumance of cattle between the regions of the country until the completion of the first phase of the countrywide mass vaccination campaign.
The Government said it is mobilising all available emergency funds for immediate action to contain and control the outbreak. It is also taking immediate actions to enhance the capacity of veterinary services to put in place adequate measures for effective, sustainable and progressive control and eradication of the disease.
It appealed to the international community, development partners, NGOs and other stakeholders to assist in effectively addressing the situation to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the country and beyond.
Written by PK Jarju
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