Productivity of cattle in Uganda is greatly hindered by the routine outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Contagious Bovine PleuroPneumonea (CBPP), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) and Trypanosomiasis. These conditions that are associated with high morbidity and mortalityhave been reported in all cattle keeping communities. In pigs, African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks which cause almost 100% mortality and morbidity have always re-occurred due to persistence of the virus in carriers of previous outbreaks that go undetected and subsequently re-introduce the disease in newly stocked herds. These conditions are classified as endemic in the country and are ranked among the most important Transboundary Animal Diseases in the East African region. The diseases can be highly infectious and contagious resulting in high economic losses in terms of mortality in newly affected herds and lowered productivity (meat and milk) where chronic cases occur. Subclinical cases tend to be purchased unknowingly, leading to the introduction of diseases to free areas.
Considering the importance of these diseases, development of novel diagnostic tests for use in the district laboratories and on the farms is being undertaken as one of the strategies to control their occurrence in cattle and pig herds. The pen-side tests being developed follow the Lateral Flow Assay principle. In comparison with the conventional tests, they are simple, portable, user friendly with a low operational cost, have better sensitivity and specificity withlong term stability under environmental conditions.
This research aims at enabling early detection of up to 90% of the cases. This, in combination with key control strategies like vaccination, prophylactic treatment and quarantine will prevent occurrence of outbreaks resulting in 60% reduction in mortality due to these diseases by 2025.Reduced disease burdens will lead to improved livestock production and increased incomes for the farming communities.