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Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in Zambia

M.P.C. Mangani

Research and Specialist Services, Box 50060, Lusaka, Zambia


Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) was re-introduced into the Western Province of Zambia in 1997 after 23 years of absence. The disease was kept out by a combination of control measures and the creation of a buffer zone. A cordon line was created in the 1970s running for over 300 km parallel to the Angolan border. The buffer zone was maintained with routine vaccinations and other zoo-sanitary measures.

The CBPP situation changed in 1997 and by 2000 the disease had become widespread. In 2002, a further change to the pattern of the disease occurred with the disease spreading from Western Province to Northwestern Province thereby creating a threat to the rest of the Country and the sub-region as a whole.

Districts Affected by CBPP

1997 CBPP Outbreak

This outbreak was first recorded at Sinjemebela in an area not covered by the cordon line and was a consequence of an illegal movement of cattle across the Angolan border. The infected area had a population of 3,000 cattle and this meant that a population of 150,000 cattle was at immediate risk. This was out of a population of more than 500,000 cattle of the Western Province.

To control the disease, control measures were put in place and were based on the creation of control zones as follows:

(1) Focal Area (FA);
(2) Primary Risk Area (PRA);
(3) Secondary Risk Area (SRA).

The test and slaughter with compensation measure was instituted in the FA and PRA and about 1,200 cattle were slaughtered with compensation. The remaining cattle in these zones and those in the Secondary Risk Area were subjected to compulsory vaccination.

Three months after the initial exercise, a follow up test and vaccination exercise was carried out in the PRA and the FA. A total of 3,000 cattle were tested using the CFT and all sero-positive cattle were slaughtered. Over 150,000 cattle were vaccinated during the same exercise. After 6 months another exercise was carried out and only 4 individual cattle were sero-positive. In November of 1998 no sero-positive cattle were recorded and the disease was controlled.

After successfully controlling the outbreak, routine activities that had slackened were strengthened in the following areas:

(1) Buffer Zone;
(2) Surveillance Zone;
(3) Clear Zone.

The following activities were implemented in the different zones:

(1) Buffer zone:

This includes the existing buffer zone in Western and North-Western Provinces along the Angolan border and the area in the Northern Province along the Tanzanian border. In the buffer zone, apart from routine vaccinations, movements of cattle are restricted to only work oxen that are vaccinated and provided with a license for designated routes into the surveillance and clear zones. Cordon guards were deployed at 8 to 10 km intervals but at the time of the outbreak, most of the guards had been laid off.

(2) Surveillance zone:

The Western Province apart from the buffer zone was designated the surveillance zone. Herds were inspected at monthly intervals and periodic sero-surveys were conducted based on the epidemiological evidence of the disease. All movements out of this zone were subject to issuance of a movement permit. Cattle were only permitted to move to a designated abattoir within Western Province under veterinary escort and only for slaughter.

(3) Clear zone:

The areas adjacent to Western, Northwestern and Northern Provinces that were free from CBPP were designated as clear zones. In these zones disease search is conducted through abattoir monitoring inspection of herds. Check points were established and maintained at designated points on the routes leading into the clear zones. No live animals are allowed into the clear zones from the surveillance zones.

If disease was detected in the clear zone in a small geographically isolated population and there is certainty that the disease has not spread, the stamping out with compensation will be instituted. Consideration has to be given to the effect of the social disruption that slaughters cause on the communities affected.

Influx of Refugee Cattle 1999 - 2000

In late 1999 due to the escalated civil strife in Angola a fresh re-introduction of the disease was experienced due to influx of refugee cattle into Zambia. The initial 1,767 refugee cattle that arrived in December 1999 were detained and later slaughtered at designated abattoirs and owners were paid compensation. Later on it became difficult to identify refugee cattle as they were disguised as Zambian cattle. This was for fear of having the cattle confiscated. As a consequence in December 2000 a widespread occurrence of CBPP was experienced in the Shangombo, Mambolomoka area. This was to the north of the 1997 focus. Due to the magnitude of the outbreak the Government of Zambia failed to maintain the slaughter and compensation policy. Instead, all herds that had clinical CBPP and those that tested positive on CFT were sent for slaughter under Veterinary escort to the designated abattoir within Western Province.

In effort to control the disease the Zambian Government in 2001 sought assistance from FAO and UNHCR and the support was given to rehabilitate quarantine stations so as to hold the refugee cattle in trust. Two registration centers and two quarantine facilities were established to accommodate refugee cattle at Shangombo and Mabua - Sikoongo.

In March 2002, a turn of events was experienced with the following taking place:

(1) Peace was coming to Angola and no refugee cattle were crossing into Zambia

(2) CBPP within Zambia had become widespread and was detected in Zambezi, Northwestern Province.

It was identified that the disease was introduced into the Province through 3 possible routes:

(1) direct introduction through refugee cattle;

(2) llegal cattle movements from Kalabo - Western Province;

(3) trading with Lukulu an infected area of Western province.

It was also identified that the disease had affected the other districts of Northwestern province namely Chavuma, Kabompo and Mwinilunga.

CBPP in North Western Province 2002

The disease was first detected in Zambezi District in March 2002 at a local slaughter slab. Testing of all herds in Zambezi Central using CFT and cELISA tests showed that the disease was widespread.

The new turn of events necessitated a change in the control strategy as the threat to the whole sub-region became more imminent. At the onset of the disease, slaughter with compensation was attempted but discarded when disease was found to be widespread. The current control measures are therefore based on achieving a high vaccination coverage complemented with disease screening.

CBPP Outbreak at Mufumbwe - Kashima 2003

In February 2003 CBPP was detected in Mufumbwe District at Kashima area through routine inspections. Two herds were affected due to illegal movement of cattle from an infected area and unvaccinated pocket in Kabompo District. Kashima is on the route to the Copperbelt Province and is the market for beef for Northwestern Province. The affected area has a population of about 200 cattle and an area covering 2500 cattle was vaccinated.

CBPP Outbreak at Kaoma

Kaoma district shares borders with the CBPP infected Districts of Mongu on the West and Senanga on the South. The disease was reported at two Veterinary camps of Winda and Mbayutu in June 2003. Both camps are on the borders of the infected Districts. The disease was being reported for the first time in Kaoma District and the entire District has been vaccinated.

CBPP Intervention Strategy - 2003

The policy of the Government of Zambia is to eradicate CBPP whenever introduced into the country and to contain it wherever it has established itself with a view of eradicating it. Strategies are therefore constantly reviewed according to the disease threat and spread.

The current CBPP strategy is to contain the disease within the already affected areas with a view to eradicating it and to prevent further spread. The following is the focus:

- Containment of CBPP in newly infected areas through increased surveillance and routine vaccinations to reduce the disease prevalence and to lessen the disease spreading to areas at risk.

- Strengthening the abattoir surveillance through involvement of trained Veterinary staff in meat Inspection to ensure integration of the abattoir surveillance system into the zoo-sanitary information system.

- Implementation of a national identification system and establishment of the herd registry for livestock.

- Sensitizing stakeholders on disease recognition and control in order to improve implementation of zoo-sanitary measures.

- Capacity building of Veterinary staff through continued training in CBPP disease recognition and control.

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