By Hileni Nembwaya
AN outbreak of Newcastle disease has hit the northern regions with more than 30 cases reported mainly in Omusati and Ohangwena regions, so far this week.
The outbreak is believed to have spread from Angola through cross border trade where vendors cross into Namibia to sell their products, including chickens, at cheaper prices when compared to local vendors.
Newcastle disease is an acute infectious viral fever affecting domestic poultry and other bird species.
In Omusati region, where the disease is said to be rife, more than 30 cases were reported to the constituency offices and veterinary offices.
State veterinarians have been dispatched in the communities to disinfect the affected areas and conduct educational awareness campaigns to schools. Modestus Amutse, the chairperson of Omusati regional council said that all the constituency offices in the region are currently busy registering the affected homesteads for statistics and data collection.
“Meanwhile, we are urging all the inhabitants to stop buying chickens from Angola until the situation returns to normal. The situation is worrisome in Omusati, however we have it all under control and the inhabitants are warned not to consume infected bird species, especially chickens,” said Amutse. Ohangwena region state veterinarian Magano Kephas confirmed the presence of the disease in the area. “So far, we only received about two cases of Newcastle disease. The cases were reported at Onanona and Onaugwendji village. We have attended to both cases that were reported and disinfected the whole areas and more people are still making reports of their affected chickens and bird species,” said.
Kephas said that the disease is likely to spread to other parts of the region as there is no control over the transmission of it; however farmers are urged to vaccinate all their bird species.
Oshana and Oshikoto regions by Tuesday had no reports yet, but veterinarians fear that the disease might further spread to other regions. The symptoms of Newcastle disease include gasping and coughing, drooping wings, dragging legs, twisting of the head and neck, circling, depression, and complete paralysis. The disease is transmitted into the red blood cells; the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body. It is highly contagious and spread in droppings and nasal discharge via direct contact, through the air, or on contaminated items such as bottoms of shoes, food, or infected dishes and cages. The virus can also penetrate eggshells that come in contact with infected tissue or food, thereby, infecting the embryo.
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