Blackquarter Disease in Gulu: A huge setback for farmers livestock

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Blackquarter Disease in Gulu: A huge setback for farmers livestock

Gulu District Veterinary department declared a quarantine on cattle in Paicho and Awach sub-counties following the outbreak of Black Quarter disease. The quarantine came after the disease claimed at least 50 heads of cattle. This was in mid-April 2021.

Recovered calf after removing of all necrotic tissue

Black quarter (BQ) is an acute, infectious disease caused by Clostridium chauvoei – a Gram-positive, anaerobic organism. This disease is characterized by inflammation with gaseous oedema of skeletal muscle and severe toxaemia.

The organisms are ingested, pass through the wall of the intestinal tract, and after gaining access to the bloodstream, are deposited in muscle and other tissues (spleen, liver, and alimentary tract) and may remain dormant indefinitely.

Most cases are seen in cattle from 6–24 months old, but thrifty calves as young as 6 weeks and cattle as old as 10–12 years may be affected.

Symptoms: Lameness, Loss of appetite, Rapid breathing, Fever and Unwillingness to move.

Early signs: swelling of the thigh, with leg up and tail raised (arrows)

The ban also means that trading in livestock within these areas is prohibited, The district communications officer, Ms. Gloria Aloyo said.

This is not good news for us farmers in Gulu because it is in the months of April, May, and June that we offload to the market animals that we have been fattening in the past year. That means that this year, we will be stuck with these animals. .

Vaccinations have begun though in the district, with each costing UGX5,000. The government is not subsidizing. The District Veterinary Department has also started sensitizing the farmers on how to contain, avoid and manage this disease.