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Mysterious ailment kills camels in the Somali region

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Addis ZeybeJune 8, 2021
City: JigjigaNewsHealth
Mysterious ailment kills camels in the Somali region

A mystery disease has killed dozens of camels in the Nogob zone of the Somali Regional State, locals have told Addis Zeybe News.

Dayib Ahmed, the Regional Livestock and Rural Development head, confirmed the mysterious deadly disease reported in parts of the region. Health workers have not yet identified the infection which has killed several camels and caused concern for the local pastoralists.

Mr. Dayib said contact had been made with the central government and blood samples had been sent to Addis Ababa’s national laboratory for further investigation. He added that the results of the investigation could be known in up to three days. Mr. Dayib said similar illnesses had been reported from the Oromia administration and neighboring countries.

The news comes after an unknown disease killed hundreds of camels in Kenya's north-eastern region last year. The disease was initially thought to be caused by a virus called MERS-Cov that attacks the camel's nervous system, but the state health department later said it was caused by a bacterium called Mannheimia hemolytic.

Health professionals describe the symptoms as a runny nose, cough, and shortness of breath which affect camels. Animals under the age of two have been severely affected by the disease.

Bashir Mohamed, a herder who has lost 10 camels in just a week, says the community is facing a dire situation and needs help immediately.

“We don’t know where this disease has come from, and we need livestock specialists to come and help us find a cure,” he said. “We want the world to know that this disease, if not controlled, will lead to hunger and poverty. Many more people have lost their camels too but are yet to report the deaths.”

Most of the people in the Somali regional state rely on livestock as an integral part of their livelihood and culture but lack access to veterinary services. There are also few veterinary staff available in the region and no advanced diagnostic laboratories. There are also few medical supplies and immunizations to combat diseases.

In addition, the COVID 19 pandemic has severely affected pastoralist’s access to markets to sell their livestock, which has reduced their income and resilience to natural shocks such as this.

Until final test results are known and the regional and federal governments start to dispatch skilled professional and veterinary services to the affected areas, this new and undiagnosed disease will continue to spread across the country and further adversely affect the poor pastoralists in Somali and Oromia regions.

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