Mysterious ailment kills dozens of camels in parts of Somali and Oromia Regional States
A mystery disease has killed several camels in the Nogob zone of the Somali Regional State, locals told SR News on Saturday. The Regional Livestock and Rural Development head who spoke with the media said there is a mysterious deadly disease reported in some parts of the region. Health workers and pastoralists have not yet identified the deadly disease that has killed several camels and caused concern for the local pastoralists.
The head of the office, Mr. Dayib Ahmed, said contact had been made with the central government and blood samples had been taken and sent to Addis Ababa national laboratory for further investigation. He added that the results of the investigation could be known in the next few days – up to 3 days. Mr. Dayib said similar illnesses had been reported from the Oromia region and neighboring countries.
Reportedly, 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 Mannhiemia hemolytic.
Health professionals describe the symptoms as a runny nose; cough and shortness of breath affect camels. Camels under the age of two were severely killed 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. 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 population in the Somali regional state relies on livestock and camels are an integral part of their livelihood and culture but lacks access to adequate veterinary services.
In the Somali region, there are also few skilled veterinary manpower; no advanced diagnostic laboratories at regional level; whilst no adequate medicine & other essential veterinary medical supplies; and finally low immunization coverage against communicable diseases. In addition, the COVID 19 pandemic has severely affected pastoralist’s access to markets to sell their livestock, which has reduced the pastoralists’ socioeconomic income and their livelihood capabilities to mitigate the vulnerability to food insecurity as well as the consequences.
Until the final test results are known and the regional/federal government starts dispatching skilled professional and veterinary services to the affected areas, this new and undiagnosed disease will continue to spread across the country and further wane the livelihood and resilience ability of the poor pastoralists in Somali and Oromia regions.