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CTA. 2003. Human-livestock diseases. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/02.Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57199
Dr Kwenkam Paul of the Cameroon Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries gives advice to livestock farmers on how to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, including those which can pass from animals to humans.
Cue: While it?s always possible for accidents to happen on a farm, especially when using heavy or sharp equipment, farming is not usually regarded as a very dangerous occupation. However, there are health risks that many farmers are not aware of. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides, for example, if handled or applied wrongly can cause serious illness. And for farmers who keep livestock there is also a risk of catching diseases from their animals. While the majority of animal diseases cannot be caught by humans, a few serious ones can. They are called zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses, and if they are not treated quickly they can prove fatal for human sufferers. Kwenkam Paul of Cameroon?s ministry responsible for livestock spoke to Martha Chindong about the dangers of zoonotic diseases and how farmers and veterinary technicians can reduce them. Martha started by asking him to give some examples of these diseases that farmers are at risk of catching from their livestock. IN: ?Thank you very much Martha ?? OUT: ??. This is very very important.? DUR?N 4?52? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Kwenkam Paul describing how livestock farmers can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Transcript Paul Thank you very much Martha. There are so many diseases that affect both animals and humans, which we call zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses. There are many of them, it will depend on the animal species. For example in cattle, we have tuberculosis, we have brucelosis, these are examples. In poultry we have Newcastle to some extent. In pigs we have swine erysipelas etc. Chindong Now doctor, from your experience among farmers and the farmers? communities, how are these diseases transmitted from animals to farmers? Paul For example, like swine erysipelas, which is a very important zoonosis among our pig population. Now because farmers are always working with these pigs, it entails that if the pigs come down with erysipelas, the farmers are immediately exposed. Therefore, what do we tell farmers? We tell them that you should not handle your pigs when you have wounds on you body, because legions on the body are some of the principal routes of transmission of this disease. For example, in the recent past one of our technicians in the Douala region himself contracted erysipelas, by handling pigs, and he developed very severe fever, severe joint pains, and severe inflammation of the legs, and he had to be put under serious emergency treatment, if not his life was in great danger. Chindong Now how can farmers properly manage their livestock in order to prevent infectious diseases, both for themselves and their animals? Paul This is a very good question. The first thing, for example, is that farmers should work with the technicians. The technicians themselves should be well-informed, and they should be disposed to the farmers, they should understand their role in development, they should understand their role in fighting poverty. So when farmers work with technicians, the technicians will help them make sure they have good inputs, for example good breeding stock: good piglets or good day-old chicks, or good dairy animals. That implies that the animals must have good infrastructure; for example like the piggery. Before you plan a piggery somewhere, you must know that, whether other piggeries are within the area, and as much as possible you plan the piggery such that the other piggeries are not an immediate threat to that piggery. You make sure that you advise the farmers to construct modern piggeries. By ?modern piggeries? I mean some area, well-defined, where the animals are kept away from sun, from direct sunlight, and where they have adequate supply of water. And then you keep off all stray animals, all intruders be they humans, and then you advise the farmers not to visit other farms. Then the farmer to a large extent will reduce the chances of infectious diseases coming to his farm. But one other important thing is that you the technician yourself, you could bring disease to the farmer?s farm. So definitely you yourself the technician, you must make sure that you don?t visit two farms in a day, and if you are going to have meetings with farmers, it is better not to have meetings within the farm premises. You should probably have it in a neutral place, maybe a primary school or within a church area, and then you insist to farmers, you inform them that as much as possible, though working together, they should work as individuals. Chindong Though working together they should work as individuals. What do you mean? Paul By this I mean, actually I am addressing myself to pig farmers, considering the dangers of African swine fever. The emphasis for you, Martha, and myself, is that we try as much as possible to encourage farmers to work as a group, we try as much as possible to encourage them to have co-operatives. But for pig farmers, we are saying that the farmer should not go to other pig farms, he should not, he should not visit them. And even, when he goes for example to the pig market, he should not bring animals back to his farm, and once he comes back from the pig market he should not go to his farm. He should first of all have a good bath, all the dresses that he wore in the market, and his shoes, he must wash, clean them very very well. If not he will bring very virulent viruses or micro-organisms to his farm, and that will be plenty of trouble for him. Chindong Now, let?s say farmers are already exposed to these diseases, what can they do? Paul Yes if farmers are exposed to this problem, the first thing they should do is they have to go to the hospital; this is absolutely important, and this is the advice we give them, that once they feel sick they must go to the hospital. And when they go to the hospital, they should not hide telling the doctors what their occupation is, what their activities are. Because if they don?t tell the doctor, the doctor may take the fever for some ordinary fever, maybe for malaria fever. So now when they tell the doctor that they are livestock farmers, since the doctor is aware of the various zoonotic problems, then he will start by eliminating first of all those zoonotic problems before attacking the other problems. This is very very important. End of track.