11 January 2013 - With funding from the European Union, FAO, in partnership with the Kenya Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and VETAID-Kenya, has conducted successful trials on the safety and efficacy of the East Coast Fever (ECF) vaccine in high-potential dairy areas of the Rift Valley in Kenya.
ECF is the most economically damaging disease within the dairy sector in Kenya. Prevention has involved a cumbersome regime of dipping animals in acaricide, resulting in lost grazing time, animal stress and, as a result, reduced milk yields.
Safety concerns have prevented the widespread use of the ECF vaccine in Kenya. Field-based tests carried out by FAO and partners in the Rift Valley have shown encouraging results. The vaccine demonstrated protection in areas where ECF is prevalent, with very low calf mortality.
Based on the results of this study, the ECF vaccine was released for use within the high potential dairy areas of the country. The launching ceremony was presided over by the Minister for Livestock Development Hon. Dr. Mohamed Kuti on 7 December 2012 at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) farm in Kitale. Also in attendance were the FAOR Kenya and the chief veterinary officers from Uganda, Zambia, South Sudan and Malawi. African Union’ Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and African Union’s Centre for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (AU-CTTBD) were also represented at the launch.
The use of the vaccine means reduced dipping frequency, which will result in an increase in milk yield and a decrease in spending on acaricide. This, coupled with a reduced mortality due to ECF, will mean greater profits for dairy farmers.
This information has been provided by the FAO Kenya office.