East Coast Fever (ECF) is a serious, often fatal disease that affects cattle. Mortality can be up to 100%, with death occurring around 18–30 days after the initial attachment of infected ticks. This is because the incubation of the disease requires around 10–25 days in which the parasite spreads quickly and aggressively!
Some of symptoms include high fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, production of tears, discharge from the nostrils, difficulty in breathing and salivation. Without appropriate and early treatment infected cattle go on to develop cloudy eyes and bloody diarrhea, loss of electrolytes and eventually the cow will die.
It kills s up to a million cattle per year in Kenya and causes economic losses estimated at Kenya shillings 20 billion per year.
Throughout eastern, central and southern Africa, ECF threatens the lives of more than 26 million cattle and kills several million cattle each year. The threat of the disease severely limits the development of the Dairy sector, discouraging farmers from keeping the high milk-yielding cattle on which the sector depends.
It is very alarming that every one minute a farmer somewhere in Kenya losses cow to ECF. East Coast Fever is considered as the biggest killer disease in Kenya.
ECF– being a threat to cattle industry, farmers are encouraged to practice appropriate measures such as tick control using acaricides which can be applied in dipping, spray races or by the use of suitable pumps every week to kill the ticks. This has always been the preferred method for many years until a vaccine was developed. And has become a blessing to the many farmers that face the challenges of ECF