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MBABANE – With the upsurge of lumpy skin disease  on cattle continuing unabated, the Business Desk reveals the 17 quarantined dip tanks where farmers can neither move nor accept a herd.    

This effectively means farmers in the areas that appear in the table below can neither sell their cattle nor bring cattle into their area until all the  cattle have been vaccinated and the quarantine is lifted, a process which usually takes at least 30 days.   

Acting Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture Nathi Mbingo confirmed that there had been an upsurge in lumpy skin disease which had resulted in the quarantine of some dip tanks to control the disease from spreading any further.
He said if there were cases of lumpy skin reported in a dip tank, that tank was immediately put under quarantine and vaccination of the cattle population begins.

Mbingo explained that lumpy skin was a disease caused by a virus that was normally seen in the humid wet seasons in the country.
“Mostly cattle are affected by the disease. While the number of cases has been increasing, it is actually consistent with the prevailing wet and humid weather conditions which provide ideal conditions for the multiplication of the insect vectors necessary for the spread of the disease,” said Mbingo.

From the 17 already quarantined dip tanks, the ministry has warned that more areas could be added, as the wet weather conditions continue.
Mbingo said efforts by government to control the disease included usage of animal movement control and vaccination, treatment of reported severely affected animals by veterinarians and an on-going awareness created on the disease at various dip tank meetings.
Asked what had been the effect on cattle farmers which was reported to the ministry, Mbingo said farmers had already reported that sick animals do not respond to farmers first aid treatment. He clarified that with the ongoing vaccinations, farmers had to pay for their cattle’s treatment.

“During the quarantine period farmers are concerned by the fact that they cannot move their animals from one area to another. However, movement control is necessary to carryout an effective vaccination campaign,” Mbingo explained.   
Mbingo pointed out that symptoms of lumpy skin included; general weakness, high temperatures (fever), some animals may limp, more salivation and animals may lose appetite and become thinner.

“Milk yields will drop in milking animals and those pregnant may abort. Nodules in the mucus membrane of the mouth, throat and skin are a common feature. Skin nodules give the disease its common name,” Mbingo explained.

The disease caused by a virus spread by insects such as mosquitoes and flies. “Early detection and vaccination are effective control measures. Since this is a viral disease there is no cure. However, supportive antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment help animals to recover faster,” added Mbingo.

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