Research Team Manager: Dr Sik​humbuzo Mbizeni

Biting and bloodsucking insects may cause severe irritation and transmit causal agents of various diseases from infected to susceptible hosts. Trypanosomiasis of man and animals, bluetongue of sheep and malaria in man, are well-known insect-borne diseases and are transmitted by tsetse flies, midges and mosquitoes respectively. Parasitic larvae destroy either external or internal tissues of the host, causing a condition called myiasis. For example, in parts of South Africa the lesions produced by blowfly larvae on sheep are common, while nasal worm infestations in sheep and bots in equines are so widespread that they may be considered the rule rather than the exception in animals throughout the Republic. Control of the various parasitic flies and/or their larvae, even when it is based on knowledge of their life cycles, is sometimes difficult. In many species it is possible to destroy the immature stages at their breeding sites but the sites used by some species are not readily accessible, or they may be widely dispersed. Control measures then have to be aimed at the adults, either during their contact with the host animals or at their resting places or by using baits. Chemical pesticides applied to host animals at certain intervals may achieve reasonable control of bloodsucking or biting flies, but frequently destruction of both the immature and adult stages is necessary to obtain satisfactory results. Veterinary and Medical Entomology is a vast and economical important discipline affecting the population of South Africa on all levels of society. In the veterinary field alone insects play an important role as the vectors of a number of important viral, protozoan and bacterial pathogens. A vast number of insects are considered as severe pest species of man and his animals. Insects can therefore be seen as a real impediment in the economical and sustainable animal production of any country. This impact is not restricted to animal production but also hampers the export of animals and animal products. Resistance to chemical control and reactions to global warming create further hurdles that need to be overcome in the successful management of the Veterinary Entomological problems in South Africa.


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