The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s Veterinary Services have tested about 2600 cattle for Bovine Brucellosis in the Severn area in the Joe Morolong local municipality recently.
Bovine Brucellosis is a chronic disease that causes abortions and reduces fertility in cattle. It is caused by Brucella abortus bacteria. It is mainly spread between herds through the introduction of infected cattle and within herds when infected cattle abort or give birth. During the birthing process, millions of bacteria are released into the environment. Cattle are curious by nature and will sniff and lick an aborted foetus or afterbirth. Brucella organisms then enter the animal through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. The incubation period is highly variable, ranging from a few weeks up to many months before an infected animal tests positive. This makes testing and removing positive animals a challenge.
Once an animal is infected, there is no treatment to effectively cure the disease - the animal should be slaughtered to remove it as a source of infection to healthy animals.
The samples from the animals were sent to the department’s laboratory in Kimberley for testing, where results are normally released within three to four weeks.
Severn is about 70 km from the Botswana and South African borders in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district municipality.
The campaign is part of government’s effort to deliver and speed up services to communities, especially to the far-flung areas of the province.
The campaign was also used as a platform to give farmers practical advice and guidance regarding their farming. Farmers were also educated about the understated zoonotic implications of Bovine Brucellosis. When the disease is transmitted to humans, it causes severe debilitating signs.
The department would like to thank the farmer’s unions for their cooperation in making this campaign a success. Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development