Importance of gastrointestinal helminths to the livestock industy in Kenya

Githigia S. "Importance of gastrointestinal helminths to the livestock industy in Kenya.". 1998; 141:72-77.


Gastrointestinal helminthes cause considerable losses to the livestock industry in Kenya. These losses are related to clinical parasitic gastroenterities leading to mortalities especially in lambs, kids, calves and poorly managed and malnourished adults. Greater losses occur due to sub clinical parasitic gastroenteritis leading to chronic production losses. These losses have been reported in all the agroecological zones of Kenya. Although most losses occur in the high rainfall areas, losses have also been reported in the dry and semi arid areas. These production losses are manifested as reduced weight gains, lower milk and wool production and in meat and organ condemnations.

The most common and economically important meatode Haemonchus contortus is causing high mortalilties in sheep and goats in Kenya (Njanja, 1985; Maingi 1991; Mwamachi, 1993; Baker et. Al., 1993). In the coastal area, the Diani estate farm lost 81 out of 355 lambs due to helminthosis within a period of 6 weeks within one year. In the semi arid area of Marsabit, a survey of gastrointestinal helminthes of cattle under nomadic management showed that helminthosis was a major constraint to livestock production in this area. Haemonchus spp were the most important parasites (Omara-Opyene, 1985). Ulvund, 1984) found that ewes and lambs grazing the cool highland pastures were heavily infected with gastrointestinal helminthes and had to be treated every 3 – 4 weeks through out the year. The animals lost considerable weight and H. contortus was the main helminth present.

UoN Websites Search