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February 26, 2018

Test of 1st cattle lung disease vaccine to start next month

Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Kenya’s Laikipia County 9 May 2017. Photo Reuters
Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Kenya’s Laikipia County 9 May 2017. Photo Reuters

Kenyan researchers will next month start testing Africa's first livestock vaccine against cattle lung disease.

The vaccines can be stored at room temperature. Dr Hezron Wesonga from the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organisation yesterday said the respiratory disease is highly contagious. Wesonga is also the principal investigator for the CPBB vaccine

The respiratory disease kills 15 per cent of infected herds in Northeastern, Rift Valley, Coast and Eastern. It causes pneumonia and enlargement of the lung membranes. It can cause death within three days after infection in goats and three weeks in cattle.

The current T144 vaccine being used has a protection rate of 30 to 60 per cent. Animals have to be vaccinated two to three times annually and whenever there is an outbreak, Wesonga said.

He said the production of the vaccine is the only sure way of controlling the disease which costs farmers about Sh5 billion losses of milk, meat and annual income.

In Africa, the disease is found in all countries, except South Africa and Botswana. Other continents were able to eradicate the disease by slaughtering the infected animals, but Kenya relies much on the vaccine. Dr Salome Wanyoike, the Deputy Director of Veterinary services in charge of socio-economic, said the T144 vaccine currently being used causes a post-vaccination reaction. “The vaccine currently in use requires cold storage, which is a big challenge, especially for pastoralists in the arid and semi-arid areas,” she said.

“The new CBPP vaccine has no side effects and does not require cold storage, and this should come as a relief to livestock keepers.”

In 2016, researchers from Kalro and the Directorate of Veterinary Services carried out a national survey for CBPP and other livestock diseases. It was part of a broader study in the Igad region. It demonstrated the hotspot areas of the illness as Kajiado, Garissa and Laikipia counties.

Wanyoike said, “Researchers have produced the vaccine in the laboratory, and it is now entering in the phase of testing in animals.”

“Once the vaccine passes the field test, production will be scaled up so that it can be available to farmers at the shortest time possible and at the lowest cost.”

Production of the vaccine will save the country a lot of money regarding losses, surveillance, and control measures.

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