'Elephant skin' outbreak in Ohangwena

28 Apr 2015 12:50pm
WINDHOEK, 28 APR (NAMPA)- An outbreak of Bovine Besnoitiosis, known as elephant skin, was recently reported amongst cattle in the Ohangwena Region.
A media statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry's (MAWF) Acting Permanent Secretary, Abraham Nehemia said the outbreak is a re-emergence after eradication in 1986.
He explained that it is a protozoal disease, meaning it stems from a parasite that may cause significant economic loses amongst farmers.
“The severity of the disease may vary from mild to severe cases, and even death of seriously affected cattle,” he said, adding that many infected cattle remain sub-clinically infected and the disease is the presence of parastic cysts in the membranes of the eyes.
He said the disease has been reported in Oshikango, Ondobe and Okongo, in the Ohangwena Region.
Nehemia, however stated that there are currently no effective drugs or vaccines available against the disease.
He noted that the controlled movement of cattle with a red cross permit in the region will be allowed after the cattle had been inspected by a veterinary official.
He said the mounting of possible roadblocks and temporary fences in and around the region, and an immediate seize, detention and possible slaughter will be implemented.
He urged farmers to ensure that all cattle are clearly identified using registered stock brands and official ear tag.
“Despite the challenge of a porous border, we urge all farmers and community at large to refrain from moving animals without the approval of the Directorate of Veterinary Services,” he said.
He indicated that specific dates for livestock inspection will be announced in due course, and that the ministry will continue to monitor the situation.