Another brucellosis outbreak in the Western Cape

A large outbreak of brucellosis among livestock on a dairy farm in the Hoekwil area of the Western Cape has been reported.

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This is the second outbreak in this area since May 2014 when the disease was detected on a neighbouring farm among a dairy herd of 1 300 cows. According to Dr Edwin Dyason, state vet at the Western Cape department of agriculture in George, the outbreak was inevitable because the two farms are situated so close together.

He said that in the most recent outbreak, out of a herd of 900 cows, 250 had already tested positive for brucellosis since November 2015.

“It is a worrisome number of infections in such a short period of time,” said Dyason. The majority of the cows that tested positive for brucellosis have been slaughtered, while the rest of the herd is being tested on a regular basis.

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“Brucellosis is a tough illness to deal with, especially in a dairy herd. If an outbreak occurs among a beef herd, the entire herd can be slaughtered, [but that’s] not a viable option for a dairy farmer.”

Dyason has requested that farmers vaccinate their animals against brucellosis regularly. The vaccine provides a 70% warranty against the disease and a 100% guarantee against abortions.

He added that farmers should maintain their fences, do regular check-ups on their herds, be aware of what is going on at neighboring farms and practice the necessary biosecurity measures on their farms.