29 January 2013

Gambia: CBPP Vaccination Campaign Starts Soon

The Ministry of Agriculture will embark on nationwide herdvaccination exercisein February. This information was disclosed tocthe Daily Observer by Dr Kebba Daffeh, the Deputy Director Animal Health and Production at the Ministry of Agriculture

He said during the course of the vaccination exercise, 400, 000 cattles are expected to be vaccinated. He said following reports of the disease in Niamina Dankunku in the Central River Region, a team of agricultural experts comprising a veterinary doctor, laboratory technologist, livestock assistant and the Animinal Health and Production Services were dispatched to the area to ascertain the nature and extend of the outbreak and also to collect samples for confirmatory diagnosis. He said Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia ( CBPP) was last reported in The Gambia in 1971 but itnow surfaces back in the country since August 2012.

Daffeh said since the disease was reported in the country 4,000 cattles have been reported death and the most affected regions are the Central River and Upper River Regions respectively. He said the FAO has secured the vaccinesand for a start, 60,000 vaccines are expected to arrive in the country this week and the rest will followsuit before the end of the campaign.

He pointed outthat all the necessary logistics for the campaignare in place and that the only area that they need assistance istransport to facilitate the easy movement of the vaccinatorsto the various locations were the exercise will take place. He said presently, the vaccinators are undergoing training and immediately they complete it, the campaign will commence.

What is CBPP? How does the ordinary farmer recognize signs and symptoms of the disease

Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP) is an infectious, highly contagious and one of the most important infectious diseases of cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa. In our sub region, this disease is considered as the most important Transboundary Animal Disease (TAD) in cattle. It is a serious threat to livestock production. Affected animals have difficulty in breathing, lose condition and high mortalities. The mortality rate of the disease is between 30 to 80%. Naïve herds can experience losses up to 80%.

As CBPP affects the lungs, it is characterize by difficulty in breathing. The breathing is labored and obviously painful. Abdominal breathing is common and cattle may grunt when breathing out. Some animal develop shallow dry and painful cough particularly noticeable on exercise. They usually lack behind the herd and avoid the sun by staying under a shade. Affected animals pant heavily and get tired easily. Acutely affected animals stand with head and neck extended and forelimbs spread apart.. There may be nasal discharge, sometimes streaked with blood.

1. What is the likely impact on food and nutrition security stemming from the disease?

The impact of CBPP on the families depending on livestock has been and will be extremely severe with livelihoods, food security, social and development consequences.

2. Impact on economy

The projection is that the impact on the national economy will be dramatic with decline in production, scarcity of products, rising market prices and financial losses to the public and government.The mortalities in cattle in the affected herds in Niamina Dankunku District, Central River Region, the most seriously affected district in the country where the disease was first reported and confirmed in August 2012, is reported within the range of 40-50% mortality. CBPP will continue to spread throughout The Gambia (and beyond) unless control measures are taken.

According to a FAO Crises Management Centre-Animal Health, The disease has the potential to cause the deaths of upwards of 200, 000 heads of cattle in The Gambia (based on the 2011 Agricultural census estimating cattle population at 398, 472 heads). The monetary value of this loses is equivalent to nearly Two Billion Dalasis.Re-establishment of the lost herds to current numbers is only practicable by breeding and could take nearly a decade.The unique trypanotolerance genetic value of N'Dama cattle may be put at risk by CBPP.

3. Does traditional livestock rearing in The Gambia contribute in any way to outbreak of disease?

Transhumance is predominantly practiced. Cattle herders migrate with their animal within the country mostly in search of grazing pastures and water. There is also cross border transhumance between The Gambia and Senegal with cattle in both directions. It will be difficult to link transhumance to the introduction of the disease into the country as both Gambia and Senegal have been CBPP free for decades.CBPP is prevalent in Mali and Mauritania and there ongoing cattle trade between the Gambia and these two countries.

With regards to the spread of the disease within the country, there is evidence suggesting that transhumance between Central River and Upper River Region might have contributed to the introduction of the disease into URR from CRR

In recognition of the severity of the situation, to raise awareness and to solicit support from its partners, international organizations and other stakeholders to compliment Government's effort in responding to the resurgence the Government of The Gambia declared a National Animal Health Emergency effective 8th November, 2012. A Rapid Response Team under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture has been put in place to coordinate and monitor the national action plan for the control of the CBPP outbreak

The livestock sector in The Gambia contributes 29.6% to Agricultural GDP and 8.6% to National GDP. The activities of the various livestock value chains - production (of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry), processing, marketing and services - provide livelihood opportunities to rural, peri-urban and urban inhabitants in The Gambia.

Cattle contribute greatly to meeting the national demand in meat and milk. The 2011 Agricultural Census reported the cattle population at 398,472 heads of which 392,288 are N'dama breed and 6184 are Zebu type Gobra breed and crosses between the Gobra and N'dama. Central River Region has the highest cattle population which is reported at 192,772 heads.

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