The Zimbabwean government says farmers have lost more than 3 000 cattle to a wave of tick-borne diseases recorded around the country between November 2017 and May 2018.

Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Agricultural Research Service/USDA

Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director Josphat Nyika said farmers lost cattle to theileriosis, (also known as January disease), babesiosis, heartwater and anaplasmosis.

In response, the DVS has increased disease surveillance and control measures to curb the spread of tick-borne diseases.  

“We have a wave of tick-borne disease, especially theileriosis, also known as January disease. It has extended its range as it is normally rampant from November to March.

“The disease (theileriosis) was reported at 158 dip tanks and the disease is more prevalent in Wedza, Chikomba, Mhondoro-Ngezi, Buhera and Goromonzi,” he said.

Dr Nyika said they have intensified grassroots awareness campaigns to help mitigate the impacts of tick-borne diseases. The campaign includes training farmers to identify

However, the campaign to rid the livestock sector of tick-borne diseases is hamstrung by a lack of vaccines and the proliferation of counterfeit dipping chemicals on the market.