• February 20th, 2019
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Meat Board avails NS55 000 for brucella tests



WINDHOEK - Discussions at high levels continue after the Meat Board of Namibia has availed N$55 000 for the most necessary support to continue brucella tests for goat exports to South Africa, following a circular from the Central Veterinary Laboratory indicating that due to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry's cost-cutting measures, the laboratory is no longer in a position to carry out necessary tests for livestock and meat exports. 

The news was met with shock and surprise and the Meat Board spokesperson Magda van Schoor says the Meat Board immediately resumed discussions with industry players to find an urgent long-term solution for the financing of critical services of the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS). The SA import rules state that small stock should come from a farm that is certified free from brucella melitensis, or each animal in the group that will be exported must be tested within 30 days before export. Sheep rams for breeding purposes must be tested for brucella ovis within 30 days before export.

The Meat Board regards the situation as very serious and talks have already begun with all relevant authorities to find a long-term solution so that these very important tests can be done. Namibia exports some 2 500 goats each week to mainly the KwaZulu/Natal markets. The signs of brucellosis in goats are similar to those in cattle. The disease is prevalent in most countries where goats are a significant part of the animal industry, and milk is a common source of human brucellosis in many countries. The causal agent is brucella melitensis. Infection occurs primarily through ingestion of the organisms. The disease causes abortion at about the fourth month of pregnancy. Arthritis and orchitis may occur. Diagnosis is made by bacteriologic examination of milk or an aborted foetus or by serum agglutination tests. The disease can be eliminated by slaughter of the herd. In most countries where brucella melitensis is endemic, and vaccination with the Rev. 1 strain is common. 
Rev. 1 is an attenuated strain of brucella melitensis and is administered by SC or intraconjunctival routes. Brucella melitensis is highly pathogenic for people.

Brucella melitensis (B. melitensis) is an infectious bacterial disease that can affect most domestic animals, but goats and sheep are especially susceptible. 

Brucellosis is a highly contagious sexual disease of cattle, transmitted mainly through their feed, which causes abortions and declining fertility. 

Worse, it is sometimes transmitted to man who then suffers undulant or "Malta" fever, an excruciatingly painful condition that is sometimes deadly. 

Cattle brucellosis has been controlled in Namibia by vaccination for decades as it can seriously erode the productivity of a herd.  By law, all heifer calves must be vaccinated around weaning before they are nine months old, to achieve lifetime immunity.

If these diseases are prevalent in a certain herd, all cows and heifers should also be vaccinated before the start of the breeding season, with the heifers receiving a second booster injection four weeks after the first one.


Staff Reporter
2018-11-13 10:06:56 3 months ago

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