Chinhoyi (New Ziana) -The Veterinary Services department is carrying out awareness campaigns in Mashonaland West province on the importance of dipping cattle to contain Theileriosis (commonly known as January disease) and other tick-borne diseases which are killing cattle.
Theileriosis tends to be encountered mostly in January when traditionally rainfall activity is high, hence the name January disease.
Provincial Veterinary director, Thokozani Mswela said areas hardest by the disease included Zvimba, Chegutu, Mhondoro- Ngezi and parts of Sanyati.
“Those are our perennial areas and what we have done is to devise a strategy to win, because the fight is against the tick, so we do it by dipping,” he said.
The ticks are usually found inside the ears, on the eyelids and on the tail brush where they like to live.
“The best method we have seen is the plunge, which we usually use in the communal areas where we dip in order to kill that tick,” said Mswela.
During the awareness campaigns, veterinary services staff would be educating traditional leaders and villagers on the importance of taking all their cattle once a week for dipping.
“We have approached the chiefs because they are the ones who own the dips in the communal areas, and their subordinates, the village heads, to help us and make sure all the cattle come to the dip tank,” Mswela said.
Thousands of cattle die from January disease in Mashonaland West province every year, prompting the government to consider developing a local vaccine since the ones being used are imported.
January disease is characterised by fever, anaemia, tachypnoea, depression, lethargy, jaundice and often eventual death. Pregnant cows may abort and still-births occur with death rates often highest in heavily pregnant cows.