Redwater disease outbreak in Mpumalanga

The recent heavy rains in Mpumalanga, along with high temperatures, caused the ideal conditions for blue ticks that cause redwater disease to thrive.

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In Ermelo alone, at least 12 cattle have died due to the disease. Farmers were warned to have their animals vaccinated. Stemmer Ndala, Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration’s chief director of professional services confirmed the incidents.

“Residents must take caution not to eat meat from cattle that has been infected. Eating this meat may cause illnesses such as anthrax.” Ndala however said the situation was under control. Redwater disease was caused by the blue tick (Boophilus spp.) and signs included fever, red urine, lack of appetite, pale to yellow gums and eyes and related signs such as difficulty walking.It has an acute onset and is usually fatal if not treated in time.

“Treatment involves keeping the cattle calm. They should not be driven over long distances and should be injected with Berenil or Imizol,” Ndala said. Vets had been sent to farms to help vaccinate cattle, to prevent the disease from spreading. Ndala said the incubation period of redwater disease was seven to 10 days. Last year more than 20 cattle also died from the disease on a farm near Ermelo. 

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