FARMERS in Chipinge are counting their losses following an outbreak of theileriosis, popularly known as January Disease.
The disease is threatening to wipe off their herd and has so far been recorded in Wards 16, 20 and 22 of the district.
A number of cattle have already succumbed to the disease.
Chipinge District Livestock Promotion Officer, Mr John Mwandifura confirmed the development.
“We are currently working with the Veterinary Services Department to control the disease. The veterinary team is on the ground to assess the situation,” he said.
Chipinge Rural District Council’s Ward 20 Councillor Charles Mugidho called for immediate intervention.
“We have received a number of cases where cattle are succumbing to January Disease. The situation needs urgent intervention as villagers are losing their cattle to the disease everyday. We were told by a local Veterinary Services Department officer that the disease is caused by not dipping our cattle,” he said.
Councillor Mugidho said most cases are going unreported. “We have discovered that only a few farmers are reporting the outbreak of the disease to officials. Some of them are selling their sick animals to local butcheries for a song.
“Others are slaughtering the beasts and selling the meat to fellow villagers, thereby risking so many people’s lives,” he said. Mr Edwin Mhlanga of Chibuwe communal lands said their cattle are succumbing to the disease after a short illness not exceeding one week.
“One of the signs of the disease is loss of appetite, watery discharge and production of blood-staine mucous. Some farmers are complaining of poor milk production as a result of the disease,” said Mr Mhlanga.