Tanzania Veterinary Journal

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Tilapia lake virus threatens tilapines farming and food security: socio-economic challenges and preventive measures in Sub-Saharan Africa

Y.M.G. Hounmanou, R.H. Mdegela, T.V. Dougnon, M.E. Achoh, O.J. Mhongole, H. Agadjihouèdé, L. Gangbè, A. Dalsgaard


Tilapiais a traditional and favorite dish in almost all countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the second most produced fish worldwide. A deadly viral disease caused by Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) currently threatens tilapia production. This study aimed to describe TiLV disease, discuss its related socio-economic impacts in SSA, and envisage preventive measures applicable in SSA countries. PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar and Research Gate were searched. Results reveal that TiLV is an RNA virus causing the disease of over 90% mortalities in tilapia. It attacks early developmental stages of tilapia, transmitted horizontally between fish, and is a potential trade-influencing transboundary animal disease. It is currently confirmed in six countries: Ecuador, Israel, Colombia, Egypt, Thailand and Taiwan. 10 SSA countries have likely imported TiLV infected tilapia fingerlings from hatcheries in Thailand and Tanzania, Burundi, Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia are suspected infected with TiLV. Approximately 6 Million jobs with subsequent 18 million livelihoods are expected to be affected. Food insecurity is likely to hit over 400 Million lives in the course of TiLV disease. An estimate of US$ 3 billion per year could be lost in SSA countries due to TiLV. In SSA, technologies to achieve effective control of TiLV based on measures suggested by OIE, and FOA do not exist. There is a crucial need for capacity building among farmers and technical personnel on prompt diagnostic procedures and effective remedial action and establishment of outbreak response systems.

Keywords: Tilapia; fish diseases, aquatic health, aquaculture, food security, Tanzania.

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