Study reveals guidelines to avoid and treat diarrheal infection in livestock

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 06/12/2019 - 12:10

Study reveals guidelines to avoid and treat diarrheal infection in livestock

Uhone Makhado, a student on the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Mahikeng, identified certain guidelines for farmers to avoid and treat diarrheal infection in livestock.

While pursuing his honours degree in microbiology, Ukhone examined the E coli strains from animal diarrheal and water samples in the Mahikeng area. (E coli is a type of bacteria that normally lives in human intestines, but is also found in the guts of some animals).

During his study he detected potential pathogenic E coli strains in farm animals in the area, which could have serious health implications for livestock and consumers.

“If animals eat contaminated food or drink foul water, some strains of E coli can cause diarrhoea,” says Ukhone. “Sick or dead animals signify a great loss for farmers, and consequently have a serious impact on the economy.

“This is also a great source of concern for public health, since these potential pathogens might be directly or indirectly disseminated into the environment,” adds Ukhone.

He says famers should ensure that their animals undergo regular routine medical check-ups, which may include vaccinations and prophylactic measures. They should also build kraals according to good farming practices to reduce health hazards, and must separate animals according to species and health status.

Ukhone says it is also essential for farmers to follow good hygiene practices to reduce the spread of pathogenic strains in the environment.

According to Dr Mathew Nyirenda from the NWU's Centre for Animal Health Sciences, the centre is assisting in the treatment of livestock diseases by providing veterinary services to farmers who keep their animals on communal grazing land in a 30 km radius around Mahikeng. These farmers are also trained and educated on herd health management.

 Ukhone is currently busy with his master’s degree in microbiology.

 Uhone Makhado and Dr Mmadira Mangyi, his supervisor during his honours study.