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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya set to roll out new East Coast
Fever vaccine to save cattle from dying

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan scientists have finalized plans to roll out the new East Coast Fever (ECF) vaccine to help save farmers from losing their cattle from dying.

Erick Mungube, director of Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), said on Wednesday evening that the vaccine TPava Marikebuni will be launched officially in mid November.

“The vaccine will be available to farmers in all veterinary laboratories and stockists in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi,” Mungube told journalists in Nairobi.

Mungube noted that technicians from the east African countries have been trained at the institute to empower them on how best to apply the vaccine once it is launched.

The scientist observed that the new vaccine that is being developed at a cost of 150,000 U.S. dollars is replacing the old one that was unveiled in 1981 and is soon running out of stock in the next few days.

“We sold half a million doses of the vaccine then and demand continues to be high but due to lack of stock, we had to develop a new vaccine,” he said.

He observed that over the years, farmers have been making huge losses due to the prevalence of ECF, a tick borne infection of cattle in Kenya and the countries within the East, Central and Southern Africa.

Sam Ndungu, head division of ECF at VRI said that the fatality rate for untreated ECF can be as high as 99 percent in cattle from non-endemic areas.

Ndungu said that the small brown ticks that are found within the animal’s ears are not very visible hence they kill the cattle unknowingly due to late diagnosis.

“Both the cost of spray and treatment are high hence the high number of deaths of cattle in the region,” he said, noting that farmers in the region lose 60 million dollars annually in the treatment of the disease.

Ndungu noted that it has also been proven that the drugs residues are found in meat and milk hence the need for precaution on the use of acaricides.

The scientist said that infected cattle develops fever, enlarged lymph nodes, lack of appetite, labored breathing and discharges red urine and shows high drop in milk production.

“We are certain that zero grazing is a better control measures against the disease but transport of fodder is posing a challenge as they spread the ticks,” he added.

According to the scientists, farmers will have to pay 2 dollars per dose of the vaccine in treating 10 cattle.

The institute that is run by KALRO has so far produced 150,000 doses of vaccine that is ready for the launch.

             

 

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