Small Ruminant Plague Reappears In Sadc

23 May 2013 10:40

WINDHOEK, 23 MAY (NAMPA) - A highly fatal and fast-spreading contagious disease affecting goats and sheep, called Peste de Petit Ruminantes (PPR), resurfaced in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa raised this concern during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the governments of Namibia and Angola on the control, prevention and eradication of trans-boundary animal diseases here on Thursday.
In PPR, hyper-acute cases are found dead without previous symptoms. They die with a serous, foamy or haemorrhagic discharge coming out of the nose.
The most typical signs are seen in the digestive tract. When entering an affected flock, one sees many animals with hind limbs stained by sticky faeces. Some sheep have an arched back, and show pain when defecating.
?This disease is likely to continue spreading southwards in our region to affect millions of the small stock owned by our farmers. Our countries are also currently experiencing serious outbreaks of rabies in both animals and human beings along our common border,? Mutorwa stated, adding that SADC is under threat from other potentially-devastating epidemic diseases.
Unless coordinated action is taken to control the spread of this disease, it is likely to spread, bringing with it untold losses of livestock and endangering the livelihoods of millions of farmers and herders.
Meanwhile, during his motivational speech last month for his ministry?s budget allocation of N.dollars 2,4 billion for the 2013/2014 financial year, Mutorwa said strategies are being formulated to deal with the PPR disease.
Hs said at the time that due to the ever-increasing threat of animal diseases with a potential to disrupt Namibia?s access to local, regional and international markets, the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) has been intensifying its disease surveillance programme to ensure that diseases or conditions which may precipitate disease outbreaks are mitigated, and that systems are in place for early detection and early effective responses to disease threats.
About N.dollars 140 million was budgeted for the DVS for the 2013/2014 financial year.
Also known as the ?small ruminant plague?, the disease killed great numbers of sheep and goats in Africa since it was first reported in West Africa during 1942.
Since then, the disease has spread from localised areas to affect most of western and eastern Africa, and is now threatening herds in the southern areas of the continent.