Some of the parasites that cause sleeping sickness in people also live in cattle. Blood sucking tsetse flies, which transmit the parasites, can feed on infected cattle and then go on to infect people when they bite them. Left untreated the microscopic sleeping sickness parasites are invariably deadly for people but cause no illness in cattle.
The main elements of the ‘Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness’ campaign are:
- Mass treatment of hundreds of thousands of cattle with Ceva’s drugs Veriben® and Veridium® which control the sleeping sickness parasites: over a million cattle were treated.
- Regular spraying of these cattle with Ceva’s insecticidal spray Vectocid® which kills tsetse, other types of flies which bother cattle, and also ticks. Ticks transmit a number of diseases which can kill cattle
- Creation of local businesses in which recently qualified vets are equipped with entrepreneurial skills to complement their technical skills and knowledge. This enables them to work with networks of community-based workers to make these important animal health products available when and where they are needed: 6 vet practices each now support 10-30 workers
The result is healthier more productive cattle which are at less risk of serious tick-borne diseases, people who are at less risk of deadly sleeping sickness and mostly young people who benefit from regular employment in viable local businesses which serve their communities.
Campaigns which promote the use of insecticide-impregnated bednets have been highly successful in reducing the number of malaria cases throughout the world.
Some types of mosquito, however, rarely enter houses and so are not susceptible to this approach. These mosquitoes prefer to feed on animals, such as cattle, but because they also sometimes feed on people, they still represent an important risk of malaria.
Already millions of cattle are treated with special pesticides to control tsetse and ticks – as the ‘Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness’ initiative showed. Now Ceva and partners are supporting team of Kenyan and British scientists, led by entomologist Professor Steve Torr of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, in a project called ‘Cows against Malaria’.
The project’s aim is first to find out which cattle insecticidal spray is most effective in controlling these mosquitoes. Different types of pesticide will be compared under carefully controlled conditions in western Kenya.
If the field trial is successful, this approach holds the promise of delivering significant additional health benefits for people who are at-risk of malaria and live in close contact with their cattle.
In developing countries vaccinating farm animals is not easy: those vaccines that exist are often too expensive or not readily available, especially for poor livestock owners; for some important diseases, effective vaccines simply do not exist. The result is that the health and wellbeing of farm animals, their owners and the communities in which they live are put at risk.
To help improve this situation, in 2004, the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) was established. GALVmed is a not-for-profit global alliance of public, private and government partners, currently funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development.
Ceva is pleased to be a committed and active member of GALVmed. With our presence in developing countries and our technical know-how, especially in tropical veterinary medicine, we are helping GALVmed achieve its goal of ‘protecting livestock, improving human lives’.
Ceva's CEO, Marc Prikazsky, has described scientists as the worlds "new entrepreneurs". Should you have a business or scientific idea that you wish to develop independently and/or in collaboration with us, you are welcome to contact us.
Last update: 23/03/2016