Monday, 6 January 2014

Scientists issue alert on lethal pig disease

Mbulu. Free grazing of pigs by farmers in Mbulu District, Manyara Region, is the main cause for a food-borne disease spread by the animals and which could be lethal to human beings, it was observed here last week.
Research scientists as well as livestock extension officers have warned that the infection could be brought under control once the rearing of pigs was undertaken “within limits” which would prevent exposure to contaminated food.
The experts made the plea as vaccine trials were underway in Mbulu - one of the districts with the highest concentration of pigs - against ‘Taenia solium’ cysticercosis, a tissue infection obtained through exposure to pork tapeworm.
The vaccine trials have been underway for some months under a project involving researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the Central Veterinary Laboratory and sponsored by the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (Asareca).
 “The purpose is to assess whether ‘Taenia solium’ vaccine can or cannot protect pigs against the infection and its effectiveness in controlling the disease,” said Dr Sylvester A. Mwidunda, one of the researchers.
“Specifically, the project aims at enhancing validation of generated vaccine among pig production stakeholders, strengthened capacity utilization of its use in the control of porcine cysticercosis and enhanced knowledge on the vaccine”, he said.
 Dr Mwidunda, who led a team of experts to the area last week, said although vaccination was carried out on the pigs, the target was to save human beings from infection through consumption of pork from infected animals.