A cattle disease has broken out in Nakoba village of Sinazongwe District in Southern province claiming between 30 and 40 animals so far.

According to one of the farmers Chimuka Ngilazi, once an animal is attacked by the same disease, it gets weak, urinates blood and dies within three to four hours.

“The disease is very unknown. It is attacking cattle only and for five months now. Once the cattle is infected with the same disease, it gets weak, and starts urinating blood then it dies within three hours. We have tried to engage some stakeholders but it seems our cry has not been heard,” said Ngilazi.

But in an interview, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Director for Animal Diseases, Dr Yona Sinkala explained that the disease was called Babesia and it was a result of farmers not dipping their animals.

“The entire area is called Kanchindu area, so Nakoba area is in Kanchindu. The area has got ticks and these ticks they carry diseases and normally this is where farmers are supposed to dip the animals to control those ticks. Now it looks like the farmers in that area have not been dipping their animals and there is a disease called Babesia which has been causing that problem. So it is a tick-bone disease which has been caused by farmers not adhering to dipping their animals. So it is not like a mysterious disease as was reported, it is a disease that the officers have been attending to there. It is a tick bone disease that is affecting the farmers there. And the farmers are supposed to dip their animals. That’s the remedy for controlling the tick bone disease,” Dr Sinkala said.

Dr Sinkala also disclosed that some officers had collected samples and taken them to Lusaka for testing while dip tanks had also been bought for farmers to regularly dip their animals.

“Of course there is also treatment, it can be treated but we are following up on the issue right now, so that is what am getting from the provincial officers, but it is not a mysterious disease per se. So like right now they are supposed to dip their animals twice in a month. Every two weeks, they are supposed to dip once to get rid of the ticks because the ticks are like mosquitoes, when the tick feeds on the animals, they transmit those tick-bone diseases , so that is where the challenge is,” said Dr Sinkala.

“So to help the farmer, my officers have gone there and they have collected the samples to confirm the disease. And the samples have been sent to Lusaka but what we are giving is the initial diagnosis of the disease. So we are just waiting for conformation but the farmers have been advised to dip the animals and the government is providing dip tanks in the area. The dip tanks have been provided, it is just the farmers to adhere to the dipping routine.”