Author(s): Biffa D, Jobre Y, Chakka H
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Abstract Small ruminants represent an important component of the Ethiopian livestock production system, providing 12\% of the value of livestock products consumed at the farm level and 48\% of the cash income generated. Ethiopia is second in Africa and sixth in the world in terms of sheep population. The country has, however, benefited little from this enormous resource owing to a multitude of problems, disease being the most important. Disease alone accounts for mortalities of 30\% in lambs and 20\% in adults. Productivity losses attributable to helminth parasites are often substantial. A loss of US $ 81.8 million is reported annually due to helminth parasites. In a country confronted with challenges of an ever-rising human population and food shortage, such enormous losses caused by helminth parasites, 'the silent predators', are intolerable. Therefore, helminth control should receive special attention in poverty reduction strategies through improved productivity of livestock if the present and future challenges of food shortage are to be addressed. Productivity loss due to helminth infections can be substantially reduced through implementation of effective disease control strategies, which require an understanding of the epidemiology and ecology of parasites and parasitic infections under local conditions. This paper reviews extensive evidence demonstrating that helminthosis is a major constraint to productivity of sheep in Ethiopia. It also discusses epidemiology and ecology of major helminth parasites in the country and suggests strategies for improved control in various agro-ecological zones and production systems.
This article was published in Anim Health Res Rev
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology