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Economics of theileriosis control in Zambia

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For an economic analysis of theileriosis control, we adopted the total economic cost (TEC) method, which calculates the sum of output losses from tick damage, theileriosis mortality and morbidity, and expenditures for treatment or prevention of the disease. At farm level, the TEC can be minimized by a specific combination of vector control and/or immunization and an acceptable level of losses. Expenditures for vector control include acaricides, construction of dipping or spraying facilities and their maintenance, and variable costs such as those for water and labour. Economics of vector control depend on the herd size and the method of application of the acaricide. Morbidity, mortality and tick damage losses are effectively reduced by correct and intensive vector control programmes. Expenditures for vector control are estimated at US$ 8.43, 13.62 and 21.09 per animal per year for plunge dipping, hand spraying and pour-on, respectively. Immunization costs comprise production of parasite stabilates, storage and application, delivery and treatment. At US$ 9.5 per animal, immunization limits losses caused by Theileria parva, but ticks still may reduce the productivity of the animals. Expenditures for treatment after natural infection involve drugs, transport, veterinary fees and farm labour costs. Treatment has a moderate success rate, hence both morbidity and mortality remain important factors. Equally, it does not affect the vector, which may continue to reduce overall productivity of cattle. Expenditures for treatment range between US$ 9.04 and US$ 27.31 per animal. To compare different TECs in relation to different control strategies, assumptions have to be made on disease occurrence, case fatality, value and productivity of the cattle, reductions in productivity due to morbidity and number of animals under a specific control regime. Calculations based on data from Southern Province, Zambia show that large-scale immunization reduces the TEC by 90% compared to no intervention. Treatment, which is the second-best option, reduces the TEC by 60%.

Appendix 1 Summary of factors influencing total economic cost

Keywords: Zambia; theileriosis control; veterinary economics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Antwerp, Institute for Development Policy and Management, Belgium 2: Assistance to the Veterinary Service in Zambia-South, Zambia

Publication date: September 1, 1999


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