Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe unite to battle CBPP

rinderpest in cattle Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) has been a problem in the Kazungula district of Zambia since an outbreak in 1997 and has caused concern in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Zambian officials recently updated the situation for participants during the Research Coordination Meeting for the CRP on Controlling CBPP, held in Windhoek in November 2006. The Kazungula district borders with Botswana and Zimbabwe, leaving these two countries at high risk of CBPP infection from Zambia.

The Zambian government initiated a large-scale test and slaughter-out exercise with compensation to farmers in November 2006. The IAEA helped supported the exercise as part of the CRP, by sponsoring three Zimbabwean and two Botswanan veterinary laboratory and research officers to join the Zambian veterinary personnel. The CRP also contributed to training in diagnosis, by providing LppQ ELISA kits, LppQ intradermal test antigens and c-ELISA kits to the three countries and used this event for the evaluation of the tests. This Tri-state training exercise was undertaken from 20th to the 28th of November 2006 and the Zambian team continues with the exercise to date.

Proceedings of the test and slaughter out exercise

The Zambian department of Veterinary Services provided a mobile laboratory facility to Kazungula. Herds with a history of CBPP infection and those with some animals showing clinical signs were selected. All animals from selected herds were bled and serology was performed. Field post-mortems were carried out on animals showing typical clinical signs of CBPP. All serum samples were tested using the Complement Fixation Test (CFT), LppQ ELISA and c-ELISA. The CFT was used as the reference herd test.

Test and Slaughter-out results: November 2006 to March 2007

A total of 3625 cattle tested positive by at least one of the 3 laboratory tests and were slaughtered during the above-mentioned reporting period. Among the animals that tested positive and were slaughtered, 76% had pathological lesions typical of CBPP and only 56% were detected by CFT, indicating that CFT sensitivity was very low. Data on the test results for the c-ELISA and LppQ ELISA were not statistically analyzed during this period, but the results obtained from the LppQ intradermal test were not conclusive and further studies on the immunogenicity of this synthetic antigen are necessary.

Conclusion

The test and slaughter-out exercise is still going on. Although the disease is not yet controlled, SADC countries commend this Zambian-IAEA initiative to control CBPP in Kazungula. It is believed that once the exercise is over, the risk of CBPP spread in other SADC countries will be minimal. This exercise provided an opportunity for veterinary researchers, especially from Zimbabwe, to have a first time exposure to CBPP clinical signs and pathological lesions.
This exercise also gave an opportunity for the laboratory personnel to use the three laboratory tests in the field and compare their sensitivities. The IAEA-RCM project succeeded in bringing veterinarians of the three countries work together towards CBPP control, which is a big step towards future regional cooperation in control of transboundary animal diseases.