13 February 2013

Gambia: Bovine Pneumonia Threaten Herders Vaccination Campaign Yet to Kick Off, Why?

The three (3) major Transboundary Animal Disease (TADs) reported in The Gambia from 2009 to 2012 are as follows:

Peste des Petit Ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goats, New Castle Disease in poultry, African swine fever in pigs and Contagious Bovine Pleuro pneumonia which re-emerged in 2012.

Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP), an infectious, highly contagious and one of the most deadly infectious diseases affecting cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa has been threatening the Gambia cattle owners since August 2012, yet vaccination campaign has not kicked off as expected..

According to an Animal Health Expert, in the sub region, this disease is considered the most critical Transboundary Animal Disease (TAD) in cattle and that it is a serious threat to livestock production. Affected animals he said have difficulty in breathing and are subjected to high mortality rate..

The mortality rate of the disease he said is between 30 to 80% and herders who nfail to act with speed could experience losses of up to 80%.

With regard to the impact of the disease on the National economy, he said 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.

According to a FAO Crises Management Centre-Animal Health, the disease has the potential to cause the deaths of 200,000 heads of cattle in The Gambia and the monetary value of this losses is equivalent to nearly Two Billion Dalasis if not addressed with speed.

Re-establishment of the lost herds to current numbers would only be practicable by breeding and could take nearly a decade and that the unique trypanotolerance genetic value of N'Dama cattle may be put at risk by CBPP.

This reporter is informed that a temporal restriction of transhumance was placed on cattle owners and that a procurement order has been placed for vaccines and other necessary logistics for the campaign.

This reporter will approach the authorities to find out when the vaccination campaign would commence.

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