Large parts of the country have been blessed with welcome rain, but it ushers in a different problem. Agricultural experts have warned livestock and game farmers about a possible outbreak of the Rift Valley fever which causes livestock and game to abort.
Rainy conditions have resulted in pans of standing water. This is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes which then transmit the Rift Valley fever virus.
Agricultural experts have called on farmers to be on the alert for possible symptoms of the virus.
The North West University’s Professor Mulunda Mwanza, says, “Stamock abortion. It means you see many animals aborting and once you see stomach abortion and you know it has been raining seasons. And also when we see that there is a lot of mosquitoes we know or suspect mostly that it is Rift Valley fever.”
Experts warn of possible Rift Valley fever:
‘Rift Valley Fever is zoonotic’
And even more bad news, as another Agricultural expert in the North West University, Paul Labout explains that Rift Valley Fever is zoonotic, meaning people can become infected, mainly by handling livestock or dead animals or drinking raw milk from an infected animal.
“It passes to humans and you can die from it and people get sick and some get better, but it’s got a high death rate. So, people must watch out if animals now die of Rift Valley fever it’s better that they get a postmortem and if that animal dies they must not eat it.”
Livestock farmers say they will have to do everything possible to ensure that their animals are not infected.
An emerging farmer, Peter Mokgobinyane says farmers must use dips that contain cypermethrin.
“That will repel the biting flies, which is especially the mosquitoes. Avoid or make sure that you don’t let your animals graze along the dams in the morning. At least take them to the dams after 10, as in the morning there are a lot of mosquitoes.”
All farmers, including game farmers, have been urged to vaccinate their animals.