East Coast Fever Vaccination

26 giugno 2014 | Scritto da Chiara in Notizie


East Coast Fever (ECF) is a disease of cattle transmitted by ticks, which, together with trypanosomosis, is the leading cause of mortality in the twelve countries of the eastern, central and southern Africa, where it is present. For example, the ECF is present in 70% of the territory of Tanzania.

Its impact on the food security of pastoral peoples and small farmers (small dairy holders) is huge. Just think about that mortality due to ECF in the pastoral sector can reach 80% in the first six months of the calf life. With this kind of breeds, if the calf dies the mother stops giving milk; just try to imagine what can happen when the mortality rate reaches 80%.

The ECF can be controlled in different ways: acaricides application (to remove ticks), treatment with specific drugs, but these are very expensive. The method which has proved to be the most reliable and cost-effective is the vaccination, or “infection and treatment”. The animal is infected with a known dose of the parasite responsible for the disease, and at the same time an antibiotic is administered by injection; the antibiotic slows down the multiplication of the parasite, allowing the animal to produce antibodies and be lifelong protected. The ticks will be responsible for vaccine booster. The vaccine gives a protection of 98%.


VSF Italy – SIVtro proposes a video produced in collaboration with various organizations, public and private organizations, which aims to inform about the impact that this vaccine is having in Tanzania, where it is available on the market since 2003, and where, therefore, this type of plan has proved to be sustainable. The testimony of those who have used this vaccine shows how Tanzania, following the adoption of this technique, has reached the “Millennium Development Goals”, in 2003.

Vaccination against ECF should be left to the private sector, so that to ensure the availability and distribution. Only the private sector should have control over the quality of the administration or, in the case of a natural disaster, the vaccine should be subsidized through the private sector.

It looks strange, but few donors are interested in supporting awareness campaigns and to increase the distribution of this vaccine. Unfortunately, as often happens, many efforts are made incorrectly. In the specific case of the ECF, due to many constraints, there is a possibility that the vaccine will not be available before the end of 2015. The producer institution, ILRI, has already finished its stock.

Thanks to the Veterinary Services & Consultancies-VSC (Arusha, Tanzania), Lieve Lynen and Beppe Di Giulio for the material supplied to us and for collaboration. VSC thanks VSF Italy for the usual courtesy and cooperation.

Thanks to the video-maker Luca Sabbioni for his usual dedication and professionalism.