Midlands loses 374 cattle to ‘January’ disease

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Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) – The Department of Veterinary Services in the Midlands Province has said over 374 cattle have so far died from an outbreak of theileriosis in Chirumhanzu and Mberengwa districts during the 2018-2019 farming season.

Mberengwa recorded 177 deaths and Chirumhanzu had 197, while the total number of cattle in the province affected by the disease commonly known as January disease is 442 cattle.

Midlands provincial Veterinary Services Officer Dr. Martin Sibanda confirmed that the January disease outbreak was due to shortage of dipping chemicals which left cattle vulnerable to tick-borne diseases.

“We have had a few cases of January disease in Gokwe because of buffaloes but the past season it broke out in Mvuma, where close to 200 cattle died and almost 250 were affected.

“Farmers were not dipping their cattle because we did not have the chemicals and this resulted in the death of 177 cattle and close to 200 affected in Mberengwa district,” added Dr. Sibanda.

The Veterinary Services Department is on high alert for rain-induced outbreaks as the rain season is upon us.

“The disease parasite is not gone, it is just dormant waiting to be active when wet and warm conditions start.

“The battle we have is fighting the disease and as of now, we do not have dipping chemicals because the supplier is not producing much,” said Dr. Sibanda.

The Times-New Ziana

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