Livestock: Expert seeks more awareness on effects of tsetse fly, Trypanosomiasis
An animal genetics and breeding specialist, Mr Amana Charles, has called for more awareness on effects of tsetse fly and Trypanosomiasis in order to improve animal health and boost the livestock sector.
Charles made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Monday.
NAN reports that Trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness or Nagana in animals, is a disease of vertebrates, caused by microscopic parasitic protozoans of the species Trypanosomabrucei.
The parasite is transmitted by tsetse fly, found only in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Charles, the livestock sector is important to the nation’s economy, as it contributes to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other agricultural value chain.
He noted that recent estimates revealed that Nigeria’s national herd comprised 18.4 million cattle, 43.4 million sheep, 76 million goats and 180 million poultry.
While describing Trypanosomiasis as a disease of public health concern, he called for more efforts to sensitise farmers on the disease.
“If animals get infected, they can also infect farmers and since those farmers live in communities, the issue becomes a matter of public health.
He said that Trypanosoma infected the blood of the vertebrate host, causing fever, weakness and lethargy and thus leading to weight loss and anaemia.
According to Charles, the disease is fatal to animals, if not treated early or given serious attention, hence the need for more awareness on how farmers can address the challenge.
He commended the Federal Government for its efforts at reducing the disease, noting that recent documents revealed that Trypanosomiasis cases had been “drastically reduced due to conscious programme by government to control outbreaks’’.
According to him, if tsetse flies are not controlled to prevent outbreaks of the disease, especially in rural communities, Trypanosomiasis can affect government efforts at attaining food security in the country.
Charles called for the provision of more quarantine centres, strict enforcement of Animal Disease Act and adequate funding of the veterinary sector.
He also advised farmers to ensure strict compliance with health hygiene and safety guidelines in order to prevent infection and ensure enhancement of animal health.
NAN reports that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology had, in November 2020, inaugurated the North-East office of Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis and (Onchocerciasis) Research (NITR) in Gombe State.
The institute was set up to help tackle the disease, while ensuring improved standard of living for peasant and livestock farmers in the six states in the zone.
No comments yet