Thyolo — Thyolo District Animal Health and Livestock Development Officer (DAHLDO), Mckinley Gudubuza on Thursday expressed concern over inadequate vaccine to arrest lumpy skin disease outbreak which has hit dairy farmers in the district.
According to DAHLDO, the disease has so far attacked over 1,110 cows in Matapwata, Dwale and Thyolo Central Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) of which only 800 have been vaccinated.
Gudubuza said the vaccine was not readily available and when it is found, it is only used in a day since it has a short shelf life.
"Once opened, it has to be used for a specified number of cows the same day, failure which it expired over night," he explained said.
The Officer pointed out that there was need for the district to procure enough vaccines for dairy cows to be rescued and contain further spread of the disease which is a threat to dairy farming.
In an interview, Veterinary Assistant at Dwale Extension Planning Area, Onex Kananji said the lumpy skin disease in the district needs adequate stocks of vaccine so that all cows in all EPAs were vaccinated against the disease.
He added that the disease has led to the drop in milk production in the district
"Each cow used to produce over 30 litres a day but now there's a drop to one litre, hence the need for action for livestock to recuperate and continue being productive," Kananji stated.
He said Lumpy skin disease makes cows to develop mastitis which affects production of milk.
The sector of animal health and livestock management is now carrying out awareness meetings in the district to alert farmers on the disease, according to Kananji.
Thyolo has over 48,000 dairy cows.