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Ethiopia: horse disease kills over two thousand

By Tesfa-alem Tekle

October 3, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — An outbreak of African horse sickness has killed over 2,000 horses, mules and donkeys in Ethiopia since March, an official said.

“Across 15 villages, a total of 4000 cases have been reported, of which 2185 have died.” Berhe Gebreegziabher, the head of animal health under the agriculture ministry said

“The mortality rate is high. The disease has swept through the country’s southwestern regions since the first outbreak was reported” Berhe said

The outbreak has been compounded by the occurrence of a different viral strain of the disease for which Ethiopia has no vaccine, Berhe added.

The report says about 46,500 horses; mules and donkeys are susceptible in the outbreak, which began late in March.

Authorities have vaccinated nearly 24,000 horses in a bid to control the outbreak

African horse sickness is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. Horses have the highest mortality rate with 90 percent dying once infected, while mules and donkeys share smaller rates with 50 and 10 percent respectively.

(ST)

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