Bulawayo (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe has lost a total of 14 933 cattle across the country due to tick borne and foot and mouth diseases as a result of illegal movements of livestock, a senior veterinary department official has said.
Speaking at a Livestock Business Forum on Tuesday, Reverend Spargo from the Department of Veterinary Services said tick borne diseases were the main problem, accounting for about 67% of all cattle losses.
The forum, funded by European Union (EU) and implemented by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is looking at how to improve animal health as part of the government’s broad initiative to develop the agriculture industry.
“Since the beginning of the year to date, a total of 14 933 cattle has died due to theileriosis. Theileriosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and heartwater are the four prevalent tick-borne diseases in Zimbabwe,” Spargo said.
“Among the four, Theileriosis/January disease has been the most devastating in the last three years,” he added.
He said theileriosis had hit all provinces save for Matabeleland North.
Spargo, however, said the situation was now under control with the improved acaricides supply and blitz tick-grease program.
“New tick-borne diseases control strategy launched this year is now being implemented. This include intensive cattle dipping, switch to pour-on in areas hit by water challenges, (and the) blitz tick grease program,” Spargo said.
“The Presidential scheme has been running for the last two seasons and will continue until theileriosis challenge is under control,” he said.
He said the national dip tank rehabilitation programme has also assisted in reducing the spread of tick-borne diseases.
“Currently 345 out of the targeted 400 dip tanks have already been rehabilitated. Tick-borne disease vaccine production is also helping. Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis are already in production. Over 20 640 doses of Theileriosis (BOLVAC) have been produced,” Spargo said.