Newcastle disease hits Masvingo

via Newcastle disease hits Masvingo – The Zimbabwean 17 July 2015 by Regerai Tukutuku

At least 500 000 chickens have died during the past month in Gutu district alone following an outbreak of Newcastle disease. There are fears that more birds could die due to a shortage of vaccines and manpower.

The disease has hit most rural parts of Masvingo province and the department of veterinary services is currently vaccinating all the birds in rural areas for free. Some of affected areas include Magombedze village Nemakonde , Makore, Vetu and Rumhizha villages where devastated villagers are still counting their losses.

The Gutu rural district councillor for ward 27, Jeffrey Tangemhare, confirmed the outbreak and said the department of veterinary services was vaccinating all the birds in the affected areas. “We are urging villagers to make sure that their birds are kept in cages and fowl runs in order for the vaccination exercise to go on smoothly,” he said. “We were surprised at the number of birds that were dying until we were informed that Newcastle disease had swept across parts of the district.”

Masvingo provincial veterinary officer Enerst Dzimwasha said the whole of Masvingo province had been affected, with Gutu , Zaka and Chiredzi areas being the worst. “We have dispatched teams to ensure that all our rural areas are covered during the vaccination exercise. The main obstacle has been shortage of vaccines and personnel but we are trying our best,” he said.

“We are just watching our birds dying because we do not have money to vaccinate our birds,” said Amos Mutyi from Makore village in Gutu. “Since most of our birds are not normally kept in cages or fowl runs we have problems making sure that all are vaccinated,” he said.

Newcastle is a contagious bird disease which affects both domestic and wild species. Tranmission of the virus causing the disease occurs by exposure to faecal and other excretions from infected birds and through contact with contaminated food, water, clothing or equipment.