Project Manager: Dr Sikhumbuz​o Mbizeni

Nagana (trypanosomosis infection in cattle) is a major impediment to cattle production and improvement in communal areas of Northern KwaZulu Natal. Studies on the two species of tsetse flies vector capacity, competence, and population dynamics have been initiated since 2005.

Tick-borne diseases and tsetse transmitted animal trypanosomosis coexist in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal affecting the same population of cattle. Parasitic ticks have been controlled for the past 100 years using chemical acaricides in dip tanks. Currently, there is no tsetse control policy in the country and no control measures have been implemented since1992. The Government of South Africa is giving special attention to developmental programmes targeting resource-poor farming societies. Creating tsetse-free areas will bring a change in land-use benefiting these communities.

IPM and farmers participation strategy: The impact of the control strategy on the incidence of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomes (locally known as Nagana) and tick-borne diseases in cattle belonging to three communities around the game reserve will help to anticipate the consequent social and economic costs and benefits as well as sustainability of this pilot project. Community participation will be a cornerstone in the implementation of the project ensuring sustainable technology transfer.

The presence of reservoir hosts (game) of the causative organism result in cattle becoming infected and re-infected with trypanosomes after treatment with trypanocides, the development of drug resistance becoming inevitable. Trypanosomosis considerably affects animal health and productivity (62 % of infected cattle were anaemic and unproductive) and contributes to poverty in the communities. The presence of reservoir host in game animals and the interactions between tsetse/game/cattle considered as the main factors determining the epidemiology of trypanosomosis are under study.

Stake holders include the Agricultural Research Council Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVR), Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs and KZN National Parks (Ezemvilo).

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