(ERGO) – Over 60 goats and sheep have died and hundreds are infected in a sheep measles outbreak in northern Somalia’s Mudug region, according to local herders.
Sheep measles, which is caused by a tapeworm parasite, hasspread to Bajela, Eldibir, Budbud, and Hingod villages in Mudug region.
The director of the ministry for livestock, Suleiman Mohamed Salah,told Radio Ergo that local officials have carried out a survey to establish the extent of the spread of the measles.
“What we know is that the disease broke out two months ago. Veterinary officers from the ministry have confirmed the outbreak and are doing their best to contain it,” said Salah.
According to Salah, the disease is likely to have spread with the movement of the pastoralist communities in the areas.
Mohamed Nur Diriye, who lives in Bajela, some 120 km from Hobyo town,said he lost 20 of his goats last month and 55 others were infected.
Diriye said the pastoralists in his village have been injecting their animals with a locally available antibiotic without a veterinary prescription.
“The disease broke out last December and we had no doctor, so we tested a certain medicine on some goats and it worked and from then we have been using it. It is called Oxytetracycline. We buy it from veterinary pharmacies,” he said.
Oxytetracycline is normally prescribed to treat bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, soft tissues, and skin.
However, Diriye said the drug costs $3 and is being widely used in the area to try to stem sheep measles.
Diriye’s family depend on livestock and since the loss of the animals they have had to ask relatives in Hobyo to help them out.
“Our main food was meat and milk from these goats but now due to the outbreak of the disease, we cannot consume their meat and milk, so we are desperate,” he said.
Another pastoralist, Ali Hirsi Awake in Eldibir,told Radio Ergo he has lost 40 goats in the last three weeks.
“All my goats contracted the disease and only 70 goats are left.When the animal contracts the disease, it becomes inactive with high fever for four to five days before the animal dies. This is affecting us very much,” said Awake.
Awake fears losing his entire herd.
Abdihabib Hussein Yusuf, the chairperson of Mudug Agriculture and Livestock Professionals Association (MALPA), said members had been dispatched to the affected area.
“We are still collecting the data so we are yet to get the total number of the affected animals but we are also thinking about the means to intervene in the situation,” Yusuf said.