Images of Deformed Lamb Born in South Africa Go Viral

Images of Deformed Lamb Born in South Africa Go Viral

Images of a deformed lamb born in South Africa have gone viral and local authorities have confirmed that the images circulating on internet are real. Many people have termed the images as a strange creature which looks like ‘half human and half lamb’. However, veterinary experts have confirmed that virus infection could be the reason behind deformed lamb. The lamb has some similarity to human baby and people in local community blamed it on witchcraft. The images were shared by a farmer from Lady Frere in Eastern Province, South Africa.

Chief Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi informed that the lamb has some similarities to human babies but he confirmed that it is not that rare phenomenon. The lamb could have been impacted by Rift Valley Fever during early stage of pregnancy, Dr. Mrwebi added. Virus infections during early stage of pregnancy can infect the foetus and lead to the development of malformations.

Dr. Mrwebi informed, "We call on the local community not to panic over this deformed lamb. We can confirm that this deformed lamb is not a progeny of sheep ovum and a human sperm."

Dr. Mrwebi estimates that the particular sheep conceived in late December or in January this year as gestation period for sheep is five months. Due to weather conditions during this time of the year, the sheep could have been infected by Rift Valley Fever.

"It is fair to assume, therefore, that the sheep was infected by the RVF virus. The resultant circulation of the virus in the blood found its way through the maternal blood into the uterus and the foetus, which was at a very critical stage of development. The infected foetus then, as a result, failed to form properly, leading to the deformity that it became," Mrwebi said.

It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form.

The images shared on internet are not hoax. However, there are many cases of deformed offspring which go unnoticed. Dr. Mrwedi added, "The lesson we are learning from this experience is that small stock farmers must keep their animals protected against diseases like the Rift Valley Fever with a correct vaccine, which is best given long before the mating season so that by the time the females get pregnant they are already protected against this disease."