Theileriosis (Buffalo Disease/January Disease) Disaster In Zimbabwe,

Theileriosis is a cattle disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Theileria species like and especially Theileriabovis.It is one of the tick-borne or tick-transmitted diseases of cattle so it can be controlled by regular systematic dipping every 7 days in summer and every two weeks during the dry season

Theileriosis (Buffalo Disease/January Disease) Disaster In Zimbabwe,

THEILERIOSIS (BUFFALO DISEASE/JANUARY DISEASE) DISASTER IN ZIMBABWE,

Introduction: Theileriosis is a cattle disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Theileria species like and especially Theileriabovis.It is one of the tick-borne or tick-transmitted diseases of cattle so it can be controlled by regular systematic dipping every 7 days in summer and every two weeks during the dry season.

In hot outbreak areas, there may be logic in dipping every 5 days.The main vector/transmitter of theileriosis is the Brown Ear tick which also transmits Redwater and Gall sickness.

Plunge dips are more effective at controlling the brown ear tick than spray races and hand spraying. Plunge dips wet the whole animal more thoroughly particularly inside the ears and under the tail.

Stockman should apply tick grease in ears and underneath the tails. In Zimbabwe so far, at least 4000 recorded cattle died of Theileriosis mainly in Mashonaland East and West provinces and at a producer price of US$500 per beast, the Nation lost more thanUS$2000000 two million US dollars. Buffalo and a proportion of recovered cattle carry the disease without suffering from the disease (they are carriers).

Theileriosis is labelled a difficult disease because it is transmitted by a three-host tick, each of the stages namely the larvae, nymph and adult feed on a separate host like birds which fly away or wild animals which can`t be collected for dipping.

Irregular dipping or sub-strength dip may be expensive in the long run when ticks develop resistance to acaricides! Usually in between January and March; the adult female mates, sucks blood until she is fully engorged, drops to the ground and lays 3 000 to 20 000 eggs depending on species which hatch under favourable climate conditions to emerge as larvae; to nymphs, which feed and moult to adults. This excessive rate of reproduction of 20 000 seed ticks in January widely spreads the disease in summer.

SYMPTOMS: high temperature, voluntary anorexia (goes off its feed), opaque cornea, laboured breathing, enlarged lymph nodes and frothing of the mouth and nose, high mortality of 90% without early treatment, animal drowns in fluid in the lungs, spleen enlarged with inflamed abomasum. Diagnosis is by smears taken from the lymph nodes and spleen of a dead animal.

The cheapest and surest way to control Theileriosis is consistent regular dipping every 7 days to control brown ear ticks!! When control fails and the disease breaks out, treat it with Butachem injected at the same time with a broadspectrum antibiotic like oxytetracycline as directed on the label or by a vet. Doctor. Cattle can also get treated by pre-immunity.

By Professor N.T. Ngongoni of ZOU; cell 0773879816; e-mail: ngongonint@gmail.com