5 core facts you should know about brucellosis – Stephen Hughes
It is a herd disease! If one animal in your herd tests positive for brucellosis, the whole herd is considered infected and placed under quarantine. This is due to the chronic (long term) nature of the disease and slow onset of symptoms caused by Brucella Animals that tested negative at first, will often test positive on another round of tests. There is no cure and all cases must be reported to state veterinary services, as this is a controlled disease.
It affects your pocket! Cattle infected with brucellosis may abort, thus you lose potentially healthy calves and production. Calving intervals will increase, meaning less calves are born per cow per year. Milk production decreases which mean less milk for sale (dairy herds), or available to the calf (beef herds). Infected calvings and abortions will contaminate the environment with millions of Brucella bacteria, exposing more of your animals to the disease..
You can buy in a disaster! Insist on only buying animals that come from HERDS that have tested negative for brucellosis in the last year. Insist on proof. Ideally, always quarantine newly acquired animals and test them again before mixing them with the rest of your herd. Be careful, don’t destroy your farm and future .
Humans can get sick!Brucella bacteria can infect humans and cause fever, flu-like symptoms and chronic disease. Humans can get infected by assisting with infective calvings, handling infected placenta or abortions, drinking fresh unpasteurised milk from infected animals and slaughtering infected animals at home.
Vaccination is a must! It is legislated under the Animal Diseases Act (Act 35 of 1984) that all heifer calves between 4-8 months MUST be vaccinated with a registered vaccine (S19, OBP or RB51, MSD). Vaccination strengthens your cows immune response to the disease, protects your herd and your investment