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    Zero-grazed cattle at 80% less risk of ECF

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    A study by the In­ter­na­tional Live­stock Re­search In­sti­tute ILRI is ad­voc­at­ing for zero graz­ing sys­tem to con­tain tick borne dis­eases as it emerged that free range sys­tems ex­poses live­stock to ticks-in­creas­ing the chances of con­tract­ing dis­eases.

     
     “An­im­als sub­jec­ted to zero-graz­ing sys­tems had 80 per cent lower chance of con­tract­ing ECF than in farms where there is no tick con­trol,” noted the study. Re­search­ers put 548 zebu cattle under sur­veil­lance and as­sessed their in­fec­tion and clin­ical status every five weeks.
     
    The dis­ease is caused by pro­to­zoa known as The­leria parva, East Coast Fever is trans­mit­ted by the brown ear tick, Rhipi­ceph­alus ap­pen­dic­u­latus. Ac­cord­ing to ILRI, one cow every 30 seconds with the lives of more than 25mn cattle at risk in the 11 coun­tries of sub-Saha­ran Africa where the dis­ease is now en­demic.
     
     
     
     
    Last year re­search­ers from ILRI and the Kenya Ag­ri­cul­tural Re­search in­sti­tute (KARI) launched a vac­cine to con­trol East Coast fever. Kenya’s Dir­ect­or­ate of Veter­in­ary Ser­vices con­duc­ted the tri­als of the ITM vac­cines giv­ing it a clean re­cord on safety and ef­fect­ive­ness.
     
    “East Coast fever con­tin­ues to cause major eco­nomic and so­cial losses to fam­il­ies in east­ern, cent­ral and south­ern Africa. Of the 46mn cattle in this re­gion al­most half are at risk from this dis­ease,” ob­served Phil Toye and Henry Kiara, two ILRI sci­ent­ists that have been in­volved in the vac­cine re­search that has spanned more than four dec­ades.

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