KZN govt moves in to help farmers battling outbreak of bovine brucellosis
Durban: Following the outbreak of bovine brucellosis in northern KwaZulu-Natal, the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi visited the area on Tuesday to discuss efforts being made to combat the outbreak.
Sithole-Moloi visited the uMkhanyakude District, where teams from the department educated livestock farmers on the signs of brucellosis in livestock.
The MEC said if the animal has tested positive for the bacteria, farmers are encouraged to take the animal to the abattoir because it cannot be healed.
She said for animals who have the disease, there was a state veterinary services which will assist the community, especially with transportation to the abattoir.
“We’re hoping we’ll see less of those because now we are educating them and training them,” said Sithole-Moloi.
She said DARD will be bringing the vaccine to the farmers and if they need transportation for positive cattle, arrangements will be made.
Sithole-Moloi said blood samples of the cattle were taken to check if they were safe for human consumption, depending on how much bacteria was in the animal.
“We’re here to look out for the community, for them not to consume food that will harm them – no matter how much they love it, they have to leave it,” said Sithole-Moloi.
The MEC said farmers were also educated about how long the vaccine lasts in the animals for them to ensure they get the vaccine again.
Meanwhile, Dr Thembelihle Sikhakhane said some of the ways the disease can spread is sexually and if an animal sniffs a dead foetus which has the disease. For humans, they can get the bacteria if they touch the blood of an infected animal.
Sikhakhane said in humans the bacteria is sometimes misdiagnosed.
“It mainly affects cattle. It causes fever in humans and cows lose their calves in the third trimester,” said Sikhakhane.
He said DARD is initiating a vaccination drive for calves, aged four to eight months, which shall be implemented in all dip tanks found in uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, uThukela and uMzinyathi districts, in the line with priorities related to food security, economic growth and rural development.