Characterisation of foot and mouth disease isolates from the Somali Eco-system in Kenya
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Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals characterised by fever and vesicular eruptions in the mouth, nares, muzzle, and feet and on the mammary glands. Although well documented in the highlands of Kenya, it is not described in the Somali eco-system (SES) which is a porous zone neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia. In this study, outbreaks of FMD in the SES were closely monitored between 2008 and 2009. Three outbreaks were encountered, one in Wajir and two in Mandera all of which occurred in the dry season. From these outbreaks antigen detection by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test was positive for serotype ‘’O’’on samples taken in the Wajir outbreak and in the second Mandera outbreak FMD nucleic acid was detected by Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR). There was no positive laboratory result from Mandera samples in the first outbreak but the clinical signs strongly resembled those of FMD. In a carrier status survey 105 oesophageal-pharyngeal fluid were collected from apparently healthy cattle in Garissa market out of 589 cattle present and 4 out of 40 from Mandera. Out of the total 109 samples, six were positive for serotype O by antigen detection ELISA test giving an overall FMD carrier status of SES cattle of 5.5%. Testing using PCR (a more sensitive test) at FMD World Reference Laboratory (WRL), Pirbright gave the actual percentage carrier status to be 14.89%. All positive samples were adult cattle over 3 years of age. No carrier status was detected in calves and yearlings.