National Agricultural Research Project KARI/DFID Tick-Borne Diseases Project the Effect of Immunisation against East Coast Fever and Relaxed Tick Control on the Incidence of Tick-Borne Diseases in Nakuru District, Kenya

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Rumberia,R. M.
Mbogo, S. K.
Wesonga, F. D.
Ndungu, S. G.
Muraguri, R. G.
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Kenya Agricultural Research Institiute
East Coast fever (ECF) caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva and transmitted by the brown tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatusis the major disease of cattle which limits dairy and beef production in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Conventional control methods of the disease rely on regular and intensive use of chemical acaricides to control the vector of the disease. Infected animals can be treated using chemotherapeutic drugs when applied early in the disease. Both of these methods are expensive and have several limitations. An alternative control method which involves infection and treatment immunisation method has proved efficacious both at the laboratory and field level. The method involves infection of an animal with live Theileria parva parasites and simultaneous treatment with oxytetracyclines. The resulting immune response coupled with sub-lethal natural challenge generally protects animals against the disease for life. Currently, this is the only practical method available for immunisation against ECF.