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Brucellosis

Brucellosis
It is currently the number one disease that farmers should be concerned about. It can destroy our livestock sector if it,s not brought under control.

Affecting cattle, sheep and goats, the disease was nearly brought under control in the 1990s, but has since grown out of hand. Although it causes hundreds of millions of shillings worth of damage to the cattle industry, its underestimated or ignored by many cattle farmers, and businesses which trade in livestock.

Between 3% and 9% of heifers born from infected cows may be latently infected (that is, without obvious symptoms). Such heifers often test negative for the disease in serological tests until about 18 months, by which time they may be pregnant or with their first calf.

These heifers are a huge problem. If farmers, vets and auctioneers dont stand together in curbing this disease, we will never manage to bring it under control

The disease is spread mainly when farmers sell and move infected animals. The problem is that infected animals show no clinical signs of disease and their eating habits do not change. The only sign that a pregnant cow carrying the disease will show is abortion after five to seven months of pregnancy. However, such a symptom is also common to other diseases.

Bulls do not play a significant role in spreading brucellosis, therefore contracting the disease through them is not as great a threat. Brucellosis is a zoonosis, making it especially dangerous. Animals with brucellosis may be slaughtered, but special arrangements have to be made with an abattoir. The cow(s) udder, reproduction system and lymph nodes have to be cut away, as the germ persists in these areas.

Germs occur in milk and are also retained in the afterbirth. Animals may eat the afterbirth and contract brucellosis in this way. Humans can contract the disease by coming into contact with the afterbirth. Butchers who do not wear special protective clothing are at risk of becoming infected, should tiny drops of infected material get in their eyes or through microscopic cuts in the skin.

Animals must be vaccinated at the correct time against brucellosis, and a vet should be consulted in this regard.

When brucellosis occurs in a herd, infected animals must be quarantined and cannot be sold.

Although ultra-heat treatment (UHT) and pasteurisation kills the germ in milk.

Contact Bukoola Vet today for more information