Original Research

African animal trypanosomosis (nagana) in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Strategic treatment of cattle on a farm in endemic area

Abdalla A. Latif, Lundi Ntantiso, Chantel de Beer
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 86, No 1 | a1639 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v86i1.1639 | © 2019 Abdalla A. Latif, Lundi Ntantiso, Chantel de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 05 April 2018 | Published: 30 May 2019

About the author(s)

Abdalla A. Latif, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, Durban, South Africa
Lundi Ntantiso, Makhathini Research Station, Jozini, South Africa
Chantel de Beer, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

African animal trypanosomosis (AAT) is caused by several species of the genus Trypanosoma, a parasitic protozoan infecting domestic and wild animals. One of the major effects of infection with pathogenic trypanosome is anaemia. Currently, the control policies for tsetse and trypanosomosis are less effective in South Africa. The only response was to block treat all infected herds and change the dip chemical to one which controls tsetse flies during severe outbreaks. This policy proved to be less effective as demonstrated by the current high level of trypanosome infections in cattle. Our objective was to study the impacts of AAT (nagana) on animal productivity by monitoring the health of cattle herds kept in tsetse and trypanosomosis endemic areas before and after an intervention that reduces the incidence of the disease. The study was conducted on a farm in northern KwaZulu-Natal which kept a commercial cattle herd. There was no history of any cattle treatment for trypanosome. All cattle were generally in poor health condition at the start of the study though the herd received regular anthelminthic treatment. A treatment strategy using two drugs, homidium bromide (ethidium) and homidium chloride (novidium), was implemented. Cattle were monitored regularly for 13 months for herd trypanosomosis prevalence (HP), herd average packed cell volume (H-PCV) and the percentage of the herd that was anaemic (HA). A total of six odour-baited H-traps were deployed where cattle grazed from January 2006 to August 2007 to monitor the tsetse population. Glossina brevipalpis Newstead and Glossina austeni Newstead were collected continuously for the entire study period. High trypanosomes HP (44%), low average H-PCV (29.5) and HA (24%) were rerecorded in the baseline survey. All cattle in the herd received their first treatment with ethidium bromide. Regular monthly sampling of cattle for the next 142 days showed a decline in HP of 2.2% – 2.8%. However, an HP of 20% was recorded by day 220 and the herd received the second treatment using novidium chloride. The HP dropped to 0.0% and HA to 0.0% by day 116 after the second treatment. The cow group was treated again by day 160 when the HP and HA were 27.3% and 11%, respectively. The same strategy was applied to the other two groups of weaners and the calves at the time when their HP reached 20%. Ethidium and novidium treatment protected cattle, that were under continuous tsetse and trypanosomosis challenge, for up to 6 months. Two to three treatments per year may be sufficient for extended protection. However, this strategy would need to be included into an integrated pest management approach combining vector control for it to be sustainable.

Keywords

tsetse flies; trypanosomes; nagana; trypanocides treatment; KwaZulu-Natal

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