Sleeping sickness kills 600 cows in NBGS

Sleeping sickness disease has killed about 600 cows in parts of Northern Bahr el Ghazal so far, the state Ministry of Animal Resources and Fishery has reported.

The ministry recorded the first case of the parasitic disease on March 31 in Aweil Center.

In May 2023, it said it had recorded deaths of animals from the suspected disease at Darka and Nyikau Bomas of Umora Payam in Aweil Center and some parts of Aweil West counties.

The disease was later confirmed as sleeping sickness after a team of livestock doctors sent samples to Juba for confirmation in May.

To stop the spread of the disease, the director general at the ministry says an emergency vaccination exercise at the cattle camps will be carried out.

“We have vaccine for that disease. UN FAO and the Ministry of Animals Resources and Fisheries have a plan to carry out vaccination to stop the disease,” Luka Manut Jel told Akol Yam FM on Wednesday.

He urged livestock owners to move their cows from congested areas to avoid getting infected.

Also called trypanosomiasis or nagana, sleeping sickness disease is caused by Flagellated protozoan parasites that live in the fluids and tissue of its host animal.

Often the disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tsetse fly which has been feeding on an infected animal. Symptoms often begin to show four to 24 days after infection.

They include fever, oedema, adenitis, dermatitis and nervous disorders. The disease, according to vets, cannot be diagnosed with certainty except physically detecting parasites by blood microscopic examination or various serological reactions.