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Open Access Research article

Sarcoptes mite epidemiology and treatment in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) calves captured for translocation from the Kafue game management area to game ranches

Hetron M Munang'andu13*, Victor M Siamudaala2, Wigganson Matandiko2, Musso Munyeme3, Mwelwa Chembensofu3 and Enala Mwase3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, Section of Aquatic Medicine and Nutrition, Norwegian School of Veterinary Sciences, Ullevålsveien 72, P. O. Box 8146 Dep, NO-0033 Oslo, Norway

2 Zambia Wildlife Authority, P. O. Box 830124, Chilanga, Zambia

3 School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:29  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-29

Published: 1 June 2010



In Zambia, translocation of wildlife from National Parks to private owned game ranches demands that only animals free of infectious diseases that could adversely affect the expansion of the wildlife industry should be translocated to game ranches. Sarcoptes mange (Sarcoptes scarbiei) has been involved in the reduction of wildlife populations in some species.


Sarcoptes mange (Sarcoptes scarbiei) was detected and eradicated from two herds of African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) calves captured in the Kafue GMA in July 2004 and August 2005. The overall prevalence was estimated at 89.5% (77/86). Sex had no influence on the occurrence and severity of the disease. Of the 86 calves used in the study, 72.1% had good body condition scores, 20.9% were fair and 7.0% were poor. Of the 77 infected calves, 53.2% were mildly infected, 28.6% were moderately and 18.2% were severely infected. Body condition score was correlated to the severity of the infection (r = 0.72, p < 0.000, n = 86) at capture. Eradication of Sarcoptes mites from the entire herd using ivermetcin was dependant on the severity of the infection. The overall ability of ivermectin to clear the infection after the first treatment was estimated at 81.8% (n = 77). It increased to 94.8% and 100% after the second and third treatments respectively.


This is the first report on the epidemiology and treatment of Sarcoptes mange in African buffaloes in Zambia. This study improves our understanding about Sarcoptes scabiei epidemiology and treatment which will have further applications for the safe animal translocation.