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Brucellosis outbreak in northern KZN

The Mercury

17 Nov 2020

THULASIZWE NKOMO

THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (KZNDARD) has confirmed an outbreak of brucella bacteria, which causes abortion and infertility in livestock and humans.

The department said that more than 400 cows had tested positive in the northern part of the province this year.

“The province is experiencing a sinister outbreak of an animal-borne bacterial disease causing abortion, infertility, reduced milk production and weak joints in both livestock and humans.

“This year’s high number of the infectious spread of brucellosis threatens to trigger great reproductive health, nutrition and economic failures for the majority of rural animal holders and consumers of raw meat or fresh milk from infected dairy cows, goats and sheep, provincewide.”

According to the KZNDARD Veterinary Services investigators’ report, there had been 635 positive cases of brucellosis in the province over the past three years. There were 73 in 2018, 139 last year, and 423 this year.

The department said reports indicated that 70% of the cases were from communal dip tanks in the north of the province.

“The increase in the north is attributed to few private veterinarians, lack of resources to contain the disease, lack of compliance from livestock owners as well as proximity to countries like Mozambique and Swaziland, which have porous border security,” said the department.

It said it would initiate a vaccination drive for calves aged 4 to 8 months that would be implemented in all dip tanks found in uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, uThukela and uMzinyathi districts. MEC Sithole-Moloi would lead a vaccination awareness and educational drive tomorrow at Hlabisisa Municipality in uMkhanyakude District that was aimed at reducing the occurrence of bovine brucellosis.