By: Foday Manneh
The livestock sector is facing another outbreak of lumpy skin disease. This viral infection affects livestock, primarily cattle, contributing to a significant bulk of meat consumed across the Gambia.
Livestock farmers are beginning to raise concern over the death of their animals as the virus spreads among herds around the country.
Juldeh Bah, a cattle rearer in Sare Ngaba in Wuli West, said seven of his cows died last week after getting infected with the disease. Five more of his cattle are currently suffering from the disease.
“This is very devastating. All this happened in my presence. Scores of cattle are dying from this virus with other cows facing the risk of infection.” Juldeh stressed.
“It develops a lump on the animal’s body. This results in a whitish discharge from its nose, a rise in temperature, swollen legs, unpleasant odor, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Seven of our cattle have already died, and five more have been affected. It is a big loss to us.”
Juldeh also stated that their efforts to fight the disease in their cattle farms proved futile.
“We have engaged the veterinary official in Basse, but after a lot of efforts, everything proves unsuccessful. We have seen cattle infections before, but previous cases do not affect animals like this.”
“The disease is affecting us economically as butchers refuse to buy our bulls now. They believe we want to get rid of sick animals.” Juldeh outlines.
Lamin Jammeh, a returnee and resident of Tanji in the west coast region, recounts his struggles setting up his cattle farm, which is now being routed by the viral infection.
“I struggled to start this farm. I am a returnee, and after my unsuccessful journey, I started a vegetable garden, which helped me to venture into cattle rearing. Unfortunately, the virus is taking things back for me, with four of my cows already dead. All I need is help to overcome this disease.” Lamin said.
“It is terrible. Imagine you but cattle and rear them until the marketing stage. All of a sudden, an infection brings devastating effects.”
Earlier, Veterinary Doctor Kebba Daffeh spoke to TAT and confirmed that LSD is a viral cattle disease that is “species-specific, meaning it affects only cattle.
The disease is not zoonotic and does not affect humans. For example, meat or milk from infested cattle cannot affect humans.”
He added that the virus is transmitted through insect vectors to cattle. However, it can also spread through direct contact among cattle.
“Vaccination and restrictions of cattle movement, preventing them from interacting with affected cattle is the surest way of containing the spread of the disease,” Daffeh advised.