Shortages of vaccines against livestock diseases could lead to crisis in the industry: FSA

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Free State Agriculture (FSA) has lamented shortages of vaccines against Rift Valley Fever, Bluetongue and Horse Sickness.

FSA President, Francois Wilken, says this could lead to a crisis in the livestock industry.

Wilken says government currently has the monopoly on the supply of vaccines, but it is failing to make sufficient vaccines available in time.

He says the only solution is for the private sector to be allowed to produce vaccines to prevent a crisis in the production of meat and animal products.

Wilken says private sector laboratories have the capacity and expertise to produce critical vaccines.

Rift Valley Fever 

In February last year, agricultural experts warned livestock and game farmers about a possible outbreak of the Rift Valley fever which causes livestock and game to abort.

This followed heavy rains in large parts of the country as rainy conditions have resulted in pans of standing water, which is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes that then transmit the Rift Valley fever virus.

Agricultural expert at 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.”

In the video below from February 2021, agricultural experts warned of Rift Valley Fever outbreak:

-Report by Palesa Mantshane, additional repoting by Mpho lepedi