Postmortem records of cattle brought to the Veterinary School in Kabete near Nairobi were examined for a period of 15 years (1984-1998, inclusive) in order to establish the role that parasitic diseases played as causes of death. The cattle were mainly of exotic breeds but a few were crosses or of indigenous breeds. There was a total of 1 413 cases of deaths from various diseases of which 177 (13 %) were due to parasites. The tick-borne diseases were in high proportions and accounted for 84,7% among the parasitic causes, which represented 10,6% of all the deaths recorded. The main tick-borne disease was East Coast fever (ECF) (65 %) followed by heartwater (10,2 %), babesiosis (5 ,1 %) and anaplasmosis (4,5 %). Hydatidosis was responsible for 7,3 % of deaths from parasitic causes. Deaths from ECF were recorded in all the 15 years and in high proportions compared to those due to heartwater (8/15), babesiosis (7/15) and anaplasmosis (5/15). Over the period under consideration, no decline was noted among various disease conditions despite advances made in controlling tick vectors and in the treatment of various parasitic conditions. The area covered by this study has the advantage of having several veterinary-related institutions close by. Hence knowledge and awareness about livestock diseases is relatively high compared to other parts of the country. It is therefore challenging to the Veterinary Department to examine the service delivery systems and other factors that may contribute to the persistent presence of these fatal parasitic conditions of cattle.
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