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Int J Parasitol. 2001 May 1;31(5-6):592-8.

Some general aspects of the distribution and epidemiology of bovine trypanosomosis in southern Africa.

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Institute of Tropical Medicine, Veterinary Department, Nationalestraat 155, 2000, Antwerpen, Belgium.


Bovine trypanosomosis occurs in vast areas of southern Africa. Its epidemiology and impact on cattle production is determined largely by the level of interaction between tsetse and cattle. Four situations can be distinguished. First, areas where cattle are absent. Second, zones where cattle have been introduced in game areas but where game is still abundant and constitutes the major source of food for tsetse. Third, areas where, often because of human interference, the density of game animals is low and cattle constitute the main source of food and finally, areas where cattle occur at the edge of tsetse-infested zones. In southern Africa, the impact of the disease on cattle production varies according to the epidemiological circumstances. The disease has an epidemic character with significant impacts on production in areas where cattle have been introduced recently or along the interface between tsetse-infested game areas and tsetse-free cultivated areas. Bovine trypanosomosis has an endemic character, with little impact on production, in areas where tsetse mainly feed on cattle and where the invasion of tsetse is low. Options for the control of bovine trypanosomosis will vary according to the epidemiological circumstance. In particular, the control of tsetse with insecticide-treated cattle will only be effective when a large proportion of feeds are taken from cattle over a large area and when the invasion of tsetse can be reduced sufficiently.

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