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January Disease resurfaces

Blessings Chidakwa Own Correspondent
Theileriosis, a cattle disease also known as January Disease, has resurfaced in some parts of Mashonaland West province, killing hundreds of beasts.

The disease outbreak has left many farmers in a panic mode with some selling their beasts for as little as $70 each.

The deadly cattle disease, which is mostly common between December and March has been reported in the Mhondoro-Mubaira area, where about 100 cattle died from the disease early this year in Kwaramba Village in Ward 6.

More than 2 000 cattle died from January Disease across the country this year.

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement’s Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services director Dr Josphat Nyika, yesterday confirmed the resurfacing of the cattle disease.

“The disease being reported is January Disease or theileriosis, a tick-borne disease transmitted by brown ear ticks.

“We have stepped up our dipping programme in communal areas by providing more dip chemicals and increasing dipping intervals to weekly,” he said.

Dr Manyika, however, allayed fears among farmers saying the situation was now under control.

“In addition to dipping, farmers should apply tick grease to the ears, under the tail and tail brush or switch. Farmers are advised not to panic and sell their cattle for peanuts,” he said.

There are, however, fears that meat from the affected animals was being sold in a butcheries in Chegutu.

Signs of an animal affected by January Disease include swelling of the lymph nodes under the ears and on the shoulder.

The animal also suffers from cloudiness of the eyes and has difficulty in breathing with froth coming from the nose and mouth.

The affected animal collapses and dies within few days.

January Disease is a notifiable disease in Zimbabwe and when suspected farmers are compelled by the law to report to the Division of Veterinary Services.

Source : The Herald

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