‘Spray me, I’m itchy’: What moo really means

    | February 3, 2014

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    Tick-borne diseases are a major economic issue in many parts of East, Southern and Central Africa. One tick-borne disease, East Coast Fever, kills a million cows each year in East Africa alone.

    In many cases, a farmer’s very livelihood depends on cattle. So livestock disease is a significant issue, and raises the chances of poverty and malnutrition.

    Current methods of disease control are limited. Farmers’ use of acaricides – pesticides which are designed to control ticks – is limited by rising prices and increasing acaricide resistance. The use of live vaccines, though successful in some areas, is often dependent on refrigeration facilities, and can be difficult in certain regions.

    The best chance for success in disease control is to take an integrated approach. That means using a variety of methods. Measures which are successful against tick-borne diseases include pasture management, effective fencing, rotational grazing, raising tick-resistant cattle, and new methods of immunization in combination with strategic use of acaricides. It should be noted that livestock keepers are extremely well informed about ticks and know which tick produces which disease.

    This script is a mini-drama which highlights the challenges associated with controlling tick-borne diseases. Two ways to use this script are by simply adapting this drama for your audience or using it as inspiration to produce your own mini-drama on livestock diseases in your area.