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Farmers affected after vaccine kills goats

By Lydiah Nyawira
Goats resting on a shed. Photo: Courtesy

Farmers are counting losses after an ongoing livestock vaccination drive led to the deaths of at least 10 animals.

The farmers, majority of whom are from Konyu Ward in Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County raised the alarm after their goats fell ill days after being vaccinated.

The agriculture department has been carrying out an annual month-long livestock vaccination program, which started on November 5 and runs until December 20.

Farmers have been paying Sh30 to protect their cows against lumpy skin disease while those with goats and sheep are paying Sh20 for the animals to be vaccinated against anthrax and black quarter.

Mwai Nduta told The Standard that his goat started exhibiting swelling of the skin and fever.

“I took my goat for vaccination as advised, but after one week, the animal fell sick. It is my only goat. My neighbour lost four goats while my brother lost two of his animals,” Mr. Mwai said.

His neighbour, Jane Kinyua, also expressed concern about her three goats.

“They have been unable to feed properly and they seem to have breathing problems. The veterinary officer came by and administered some drugs but so far improvement has been slow,” Ms. Kinyua said.

Reports obtained by The Standard indicated that dozens of animals may have been affected. The livestock exhibit similar symptoms, which include fever, bodily weakness and paralysis, and skin lesions with small pimples.

Agriculture Executive James Wachihi denied reports that hundreds of animals had been affected, instead stating that 10 deaths had been reported while 12 animals were sick and receiving treatment.

“I am aware of what has been happening in Kiamabara village. We are investigating what could have led to the deaths and illness of the vaccinated goats,” Mr. Wachihi said.

Wachihi said the animals started exhibiting symptoms of sheep and goat pox diseases. "Our officers have collected samples from the dead goats for testing and also treated the sick animals."

He added: “Several things may have taken place during the vaccination, including cross-contamination of the vaccines or one of the officers may have made an error. Either way, we shall get answers."

The executive said the county would not compensate farmers until investigations were complete. "We will hold the person responsible personally liable for the losses incurred by the farmers."

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