THE Department of Veterinary Services in Bulilima last week found no clinical evidence of Newcastle disease in Dombodema where villagers have reportedly lost many chickens.

Last week a number of villagers in ward 20 lost some chickens in a suspected Newcastle outbreak, sending villagers in Bulilima district into panic.

That prompted the Department of Veterinary Services to dispatch a team to the reported epicentre of the outbreak.

Provincial veterinary officer, Enat Mdlongwa dismissed the Newscatle disease outbreak reports in the ward and Bulilima district.

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“Following reports that there has been an outbreak of Newcastle in Bulilima district, especially in ward 20 in Dombodema, we have not found any clinical evidence pointing to that disease. Soon after receiving the reports we sent our district team to investigate the matter and their findings are that there is nothing on the ground showing an outbreak of that disease, so villagers should not panic as their birds are safe,” Mdlongwa said.

Last week, the Bulilima Civil Protection Unit received a report of a suspected Newcastle disease outbreak after some villagers lost their chickens to what is now suspected to be a heat wave.

A source in Dombodema, Martha Ncube yesterday confirmed that indeed officials from the Department of Veterinary Services had investigated the reports.

“They came here last week to investigate. They told us that they have not found any trace of the disease. Villagers are now suspecting that their birds could have died due to excessive heat as they were facing respiratory problems and then die,” Ncube said.

Newcastle disease is an infection of domestic poultry and other bird species with virulent Newcastle disease virus. It is a worldwide problem that presents primarily as an acute respiratory disease, but depression, nervous manifestations, or diarrhoea may be the predominant clinical form.

The disease is a contagious bird disease affecting domestic and wild avian species, it is transmissible to humans. It was first identified in Java, Indonesia, in 1926, and in 1927 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England (where it got its name).