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Namibia Farmers experience shortage of vaccines

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The shortage of vaccines has forced producers in Namibia to seek out other means of protection for their livestock against viruses.

Usually, Namibia imports most of the vaccines farmers use to protect livestock against certain diseases from South Africa but lately, there has been a critical shortage of certain vaccines manufactured by Onderstepoort.

Onderstepoort is a Veterinary institute in South Africa that also produces vaccines and according to the latest issue of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) newsletter released last week, they have recorded a shortage of vaccines for some time.

“These shortages also spill over to Namibia and leave producers stranded. There are currently no vaccines available in Namibia against viral diseases transmitted by vectors, such as mosquitoes and midgets.

“This has forced producers to explore alternative options on how to protect livestock from diseases such as bovine ephemeral fever, commonly known as three-day sickness, bluetongue, and rift valley fever,” said the Union.

According to the newsletter, the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO), an affiliate of the NAU, has contacted a few seasoned private veterinarians for advice.

The LPO has advised in order to prevent the outbreak of a viral disease in some cases, the symptoms have to be treated, thus the key to controlling diseases rather lies in prevention.

Vectors such as mosquitoes and midgets must be managed effectively and livestock exposure to these vectors must be kept as low as possible, said the veterinarians.

“This can be done by the regular application of approved dip/pour-on/spray containing active ingredients that repel mosquitoes and midgets. Other preventative measures include, if possible, keeping animals away from low-lying pasture in summer where water is present and where, especially at night, mosquitoes and midgets have the highest concentration.”

Farmers were also urged to consult their nearest veterinarian for advice on an effective vector-control programme.

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