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Ministry of Primary Industries blame bacterial disease

By Losalini Rasoqosoqo SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, May 4, 2011) – In Fiji, the Ministry of Primary Industries believes a strain of brucellosis is causing the deaths of unborn calves.

While they are trying to confirm the disease (Brucella Abortus), the ministry has taken a proactive step by vaccinating cows.

The ministry has received a lot of complaints and concerns from cattle farmers, who have reported that their unborn calves are dying in numbers.

Director Animal, Health and Production Tomasi Tunabuna said the vaccination (RB51) program started last week.

He said the last campaign to prevent brucella abortus ended 10 years ago because of a lack of funding.

"At that time, the number of cows infected decreased," Mr. Tunabuna said.

While tests could not be done in Fiji because of limited facilities, the major setback is the inability of Australia to accept blood samples for testing. Twice we have tried to send samples across to Australia but there are procedures that need to be followed, Mr. Tunabuna said. The disease is no longer in existence in Australia and there are concerns about how the samples will be taken across. Technicians need to run their tests before it could be determined."

RB51 vaccination is to fight against brucella abortus.

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