Thursday, 21 June 2018

UVRI sets up a Foot and Mouth Disease Lab.

UVRI is setting up a Lab for the Foot and Mouth disease, the project was launched in June 2014 to handle the Virus strains around Uganda with an aim of coming up with effective control measures and appropriate vaccines. The project entitled: Research and Development of Countermeasures to Support the Control of FMDV in Uganda: Development of Improved Diagnostic Tools for a Comprehensive Surveillance Program. The project is supported by USDA and is implemented between UVRI, MAAIF and COVAB, Makerere University. At UVRI it is headed by Dr. Julius J. Lutwama and coordinated by Nackson Babi in the Arbovirology division. Its field operations started in four selected districts of Nakaseke, Gomba, Isingiro and Mbale. Lab tests are planned to start soon when the Lab facilities are fully setup.

Foot and Mouth disease is a viral disease that affects cloven footed animals like cattle, sheep, goats, swine and wild animals inclusive. It’s one of the most important trans- boundary diseases that undermines livestock production, marketing and consumption.

The lab in its final stages of completion

In Uganda the disease was first reported and confirmed in the 1950s and it has now become endemic with outbreaks occurring almost every year especially in cattle. The virus has seven serotypes which do not cross protect and therefore there is need for us to know which serotypes are circulating in order to plan for the specific vaccines. FMD was reported and confirmed in over 30 Ugandan districts including those in the cattle corridor in 2014 alone.

This always calls for imposing of quarantines in the affected districts and therefore comes with big implications in the economic sense and livelihood of the communities and affects the revenue collections to the nation at large. We hope that this study will come up with guiding information on how best the problem of FMD can be sorted out.


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