Farmers should prepare for an increase in vector borne diseases after the widespread and persistent rain in Southern African countries since January.
The rainy season means an increase in disease carrying vectors like midges, ticks and mosquitoes. According to Dr Moetapele Letswenyo, regional coordinator for the World Animal Health Organisation, farmers should intensify their preparations for accompanying livestock diseases like lumpy skin disease (LSD), tick borne diseases, rift valley fever and African horse sickness (AHS).
Stagnant water after rain is also the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Letswenyo says livestock farmers should focus on preventative measures like vaccination for diseases like LSD and AHS, regular dipping for tick borne diseases and where possible, they should apply fly control against AHS.
The measures should be applied to livestock like cattle, sheep, goats and equids (horses and donkeys).
In the January report on animal health from the Ruminant Veterinary Association of South Africa (RuVASA), several cases of diseases like LSD, three day stiff sickness, bluetongue, African and Asiatic redwater, heartwater and anaplasmosis have been reported in South Africa.
Dr Faffa Malan, manager for RuVaSA, emphasized that farmers should vaccinate animals on time. He says there are good vaccines available and there should be no reason why the diseases should be problematic.
He says farmers should already plan to vaccinate their animals before the next rain season.