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Lumpy skin disease outbreak in Mat South

By Vumani Mthiyane

Matabeleland South province has been hit by an outbreak of lumpy skin disease with a number of cattle succumbing to the disease.

Lumpy skin disease is a seasonal viral disease of cattle, spread by the poxvirus and usually occurs during the wet summer and autumn months, especially when there are high insect populations.

The disease causes production losses, pregnant cattle may abort, marked reduction in milk yield, pneumonia, infertility, permanent damage to hides (skin), emaciation (loss of body condition). 

The Matabeleland South provincial officer in the Department of Veterinary Services Dr Enart Mdlongwa confirmed the development.

“The lumpy skin disease outbreak is not only in Umzingwane district alone but across the whole province. It is normal to experience such diseases especially after receiving heavy rains. However, farmers should have vaccinated their livestock before the rains began as a prevention measure. Nonetheless, it can still be done to those affected animals while the clean ones must be given antibiotics,” said Dr Mdlongwa.

He, however, could not shed light on the current statistics of affected livestock as well the death toll.

Communal farmers from Umzingwane and Gwanda districts told CITE that the situation is dire.

Ward 6 Councillor, Amanda Khumalo said she has lost cattle to the disease.

Sifelani Dube from said he nearly lost one of his cows but was assisted by his neoghbour who gave him a vaccine.  

Thithibele Ndlovu from Stanmore village in Gwanda district said they have been forced to slaughter some of the affected animals.

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