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Vets crush brucellosis in Tajikistan

Tajik veterinarians have vaccinated 1.7 million animals against brucellosis

A dramatic decline in brucellosis, a serious disease affecting both livestock and humans in this Central Asian country, is being hailed as the first major victory of the recently privatized national animal health service.

Government services in this former Soviet republic all but collapsed during a civil war in the 1990s and by 2004 brucellosis infected 8.5 percent of the country's vast sheep and goat herds. Meat and dairy production declined and people who caught the disease from consuming unpasteurized milk and cheese became debilitated with chronic fevers, muscle pains and weakness.

The situation has turned around, with disease rates now around 2.5 percent, thanks to a nationwide campaign that marshalled the country's veterinarians into a Tajikistan Veterinary Association, now with 1 000 dues-paying members, upgraded their skills and developed a network of veterinary drug stores and small clinics. From there, 1.7 million animals were vaccinated.

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