Zhombe farmers bemoan lumpy skin disease outbreak

Prisca Manyiwa-Masuku

There is an outbreak of lumpy skin disease in Zhombe, Bharimasvosve area where some farmers have already lost cattle due to the disease.

Speaking to Impact Stories Zimbabwe, ward 9 councillor Emmanuel Sibanda bemoaned the loss of cattle in his area due to lumpy skin disease.

“We have a problem of lumpy skin disease in our area and I am one of the affected people.
“I lost two beasts after making frantic efforts consulting veterinary services and they responded. They recommended me some medicines which I did but my affected cattle died.

“It seems this lumpy skin disease is dominant in this area and it’s covering the whole area, we do not even know where it emanated from because historically we were told that the disease come from wild animals but we do not have any wild animals in this area.

“We have contacted the veterinary services to find ways in which we can counter this problem,” said Sibanda.

When contacted for comment, the Midlands Provincial Veterinary Services Officer Dr Martin Sibanda confirmed that lumpy skin is a problem not in Zhombe only but throughout the Province.

“Lumpy skin disease has been coming up since last year and we have been advising farmers on what they should do.

“We have lumpy skin in our reports, it’s actually not in Zhombe only but in most parts of the Province.

“It is fortunate or unfortunate that the rains seemingly have stopped because if they had continued we would have higher numbers of lump skin cases,” said Dr Sibanda.

Doctor Sibanda urged farmers to have their cattle vaccinated as the disease can spread easily across herds of cattle in an affected area although it can be treated if the farmers seek help on time.

“Lumpy skin is one of the diseases that is farmer-controlled. As Veterinary Services we only advise farmers to vaccinate.

“There is a vaccine that is in the market but sometimes farmers are scared to buy because it is expensive,” he said.

Dr Sibanda did, however, not divulge the number of cattle that have died of lumpy skin but highlighted that the severity of the disease does not lie in the number of deaths since it can be treated if the medicines are administered on time.

“Lumpy skin generally doesn’t kill, the death figures usually do not reflect the severity of the disease because cattle can only die if the farmers do not do anything about treatment,” he said.

Scientific research shows that lumpy skin is a viral disease that affects cattle and is transmitted by blood-feeding insects like mosquitoes and ticks.

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