Livestock farmers and veterinary officers in eastern Rwanda have been baffled by an unidentified disease that they say has killed more than 100 cows in the past about three weeks.
The disease broke out in Ngoma and Kirehe districts toward the end of May, farmers and local officials told Xinhua on Tuesday. A team from Rwanda Agriculture Board has visited the area to take blood samples to identify the disease but results of blood tests are yet to be released, they said. Within a period of less than a month, the disease has killed 102 cows in Ngoma district while in Kirehe district six cows have been killed, according to them. The disease symptoms include loss of appetite, general weakness and bleeding, they said. Isidori Gafarasi who is in charge of livestock in Eastern Province in Rwanda Agriculture Board confirmed the outbreak of the disease and cattle deaths in a media briefing on Wednesday.
Though the results of blood samples were yet to be out veterinary doctors suspect the disease to be Rift Valley fever, basing on the symptoms, he said. Cattle in the two districts have been quarantined to prevent possible spread of the disease as efforts to control it are underway. Rift Valley Fever is a viral disease of cattle and sheep that was first discovered in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It is spread to livestock through the bite of infected mosquitoes during years of heavy rainfall, according to veterinarians. The disease causes high death rates in young animals and abortions in older animals, and can cause mild symptoms to severe symptoms.