Lumpy skin disease outbreak is high this season with over 120 deaths and more than 1 000 cases recorded in a single week, the Department of Veterinary Fields Services has said.
The outbreak is at its peak during the rainy season but this year the cases have increased tremendously.
Department of Veterinary Fields Services deputy director Dr Chenjerai Njagu said the worst affected areas are in Mashonaland West.
" Although this is the expected pick period for the disease, the numbers being reported from Mash West are abnormally high," said Dr Njagu.
Last week alone a total of 1112 cases which included 121 deaths were reported. Chegutu recorded the highest number of cases with 291 followed by Zvimba which recorded 228 last week alone.
Sanyati recorded 118, Hurungwe (91), Makonde (86), Mhondoro (80), Beitbridge (78), Zvishavane (55), Mangwe (21) Mwenezi (16) Shurugwi (14), Kwekwe (10) Gokwe North (10) Chiredzi (8), Mvuma (3), Mutare (1), Nyanga (1), and Matobo (1).
"The outbreak being experienced in Mashonaland West is also causing unusual mortalities which are in excess of 10 percent in some herds," he said.
"This may mean we are encountering a more virulent strain of the virus than we have normally experienced over the years."
LSD is a viral disease of cattle transmitted from one animal to the other by biting flies.
It affects the skin by causing small lumps on the skin that may develop into wounds. In severe cases it may affect the respiratory system and may cause death.
Affected animals usually recover on their own in two to three weeks time but in some cases the affected animals get secondary bacterial infection which may lead to death of the animal.
The disease occurs throughout the country and is usually associated with the rain season. Continual wet conditions during this period also makes animals more vulnerable to LSD as well as other skin diseases.
As is the case with most viral diseases there is no cure for the disease but affected animals may given antibiotics to protect them from secondary bacterial infection.
Farmers are urged to vaccinate their animals against the disease during the dry season so that come rain season animals are already protected.
In the face of an outbreak like this, animals that were not vaccinated should be vaccinated immediately. Vaccinating already affected animals is not very useful. It is better to use antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infection.
The department is in the process of supplying stocks of vaccine and anti-biotics to district and sub district offices in the affected districts for farmers to have easy access as there is no government programme to vaccinate of treat animals for free.
The national herd currently stands at 5,2 million cattle.