Zambia has developed a local vaccine for East Coast fever, said Livestock and Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo. The minister said 80 000 doses of the local vaccine are being piloted in selected provinces.
“The local vaccines are showing positive results and if successful, they will help curb tick-borne diseases,” Katambo said.
The minister said the development of the local vaccine is the result of collaboration with the Belgian government. Local strains are used in the research to develop the indigenous vaccine against East Coast fever.
“The development will mitigate the devastating impact on productivity, trade in live animals, meat and other animal products arising from outbreaks of livestock diseases,” he said.
The detrimental impact of livestock diseases was clear in 2013, when African swine fever broke out. Government spent more than K100 million to compensate farmers whose animals were slaughtered as a way of containing the disease.
This makes Zambia’s development of a vaccine against tick-borne diseases even more significant for the country’s US$1.5 billion livestock sector. The sector accounts for nearly 35% of agriculture’s share of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
Consequently, government instituted a number of programmes to prevent and control animal diseases to increase the growth rate of the sector. This included the implementation of early warning systems to mitigate the devastating impact of livestock diseases.