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Newcastle outbreak threatens Mat North chickens


MATABELELAND North has been hit by an outbreak of Newcastle disease, with Lupane and Binga districts being the worst affected.



There are fears that thousands of chickens and other birds are under threat unless the disease is urgently controlled.

Provincial veterinary officer Polex Moyo yesterday confirmed the outbreak, but downplayed reports the situation was severe.

“I can confirm that Newcastle has been detected in some areas of the province, especially at Binga centre, but it is in small pockets. It has not spread across the whole province, as people are saying. We are aware of that,” he said.

Moyo urged locals to be vigilant and protect their chickens.

“We are reacting to a report that those who are rearing indigenous birds were the ones affected,” he said.

Newcastle is an acute infectious viral fever affecting birds, especially poultry.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union Lupane district chairman Dingani Bernard Dlodlo was recently quoted saying the first Newcastle disease outbreak was reported on September 18 in Goshanga and St Paul villages.

Late last month, a suspected outbreak of the disease was also reported in Umguza district.

“A lot of chickens have died of Newcastle since last month and the disease continues to spread as villagers are defying movement restrictions by the Department of Veterinary Services,” Dlodlo said then.

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