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Farmers urged to vaccinate cattle on time to mitigate losses

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

THE Veterinary Services Department has urged farmers to vaccinate their cattle on time to mitigate losses following an anthrax outbreak in Manicaland.

The department which is conducting on-the-spot anthrax vaccinations after an outbreak advised farmers to vaccinate their cattle from April to August.

“Farmers are urged to report any dead animal to veterinary offices. They should not open or eat dead animals to reduce disease multiplication. Farmers need to vaccinate their animals before they contract the disease. We need to vaccinate our animals between April and August to avoid the death of cattle due to anthrax,” said Manicaland Veterinary Services Director Dr Charles Guri.

The outbreak in Makoni District, Manzvire, and Chisuma areas of Chipinge jolted the Veterinary Services Department into action with Dr Guri revealing that 25 000 cattle have been vaccinated in Manzvire with 10 000 expected to be vaccinated in Chisuma next week.

“This year we have heard Anthrax outbreaks in the hotspot area of Manzvire in Chipinge but the other two outbreaks in Makoni and Chisuma area of Chipinge occurred outside anthrax hotspot areas. We have never had Anthrax in these areas before.

“We have vaccinated 25 000 cattle so far in the Manzvire area. We are yet to vaccinate in Makoni and in the Chisuma area, we want to vaccinate 10 000 cattle as a preventive measure. Our hotspot areas require 250 000 doses of vaccines every year and we have vaccines for the 250 000 cattle in the hotspot areas.

“We are reacting to those outbreaks through spot vaccinations during the outbreaks. In Makoni, the property that was affected had 115 cattle and four died. In Manzvire the homestead that was affected had 14 cattle and two cattle died. In Chisuma there were three homesteads affected and the total number of cattle at the home steady was 30.”

Chipinge District Medical Officer Dr Ozimo Matekenya revealed that a patient suspected to have consumed meat from an infected animal has been admitted to the district hospital.

“We have one suspected case of Anthrax after an individual we suspect consumed the meat of an animal that succumbed to anthrax. The results of the spaceman taken will be available this week. We highly recommend that the community should be aware of the symptoms of Anthrax and all animals that die of Anthrax should not be consumed but they should be destroyed.”

Anthrax hotspots in Manicaland include Nyanga North, Chiendambuya, Tandi, Rukweza, areas around Osborne Dam, Marange, Nyanyadzi, Hotsprings, areas around Murambinda and Mazvire in Chipinge.

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