A trial was performed on a farm in the Coast Province of Kenya to study the effects of East Coast fever immunisation and different acaricidal treatments on the productivity of immunised and unimmunised beef cattle. Eighty cattle were immunised against Theileria parva parva (Marikebuni) by the infection and treatment method and a similar group was left as an unimmunised control. Immunisation had no deleterious effect on the cattle. After immunisation, the immunised and control groups were each subdivided into four groups of 20 and each subgroup was managed under a different tick control regimen. The tick control regimen were, acaricidal spraying twice a week or once every three weeks, the application of acaricide-impregnated ear-tags, and no tick control. During a nine-month exposure period there were 18 cases of East Coast fever among the 80 immunised cattle, three which were severe and the others mild. Among the 80 unimmunised cattle there were 57 cases of East Coast fever, 50 of which were severe. The highest morbidity and mortality occurred in the groups under limited tick control or without tick control. Overall weight gain in the immunised cattle, irrespective of the tick control regimen, was better than the weight gain in the unimmunised groups. Within the immunised groups, the weight gain of the cattle sprayed twice weekly was comparable to the weight gain of the animals with acaricidal ear-tags and was significantly higher than the weight gains in the groups sprayed once every three weeks or with tick control. Preliminary cost/benefit analysis showed that it was uneconomical to maintain unimmunised cattle under limited or no tick control.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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