Disease consistently features among the major constraints of livestock production in the central African region, orchestrating important economic losses. This article reviews livestock diseases of economic importance, including foot-and-mouth disease, trypanosomosis and dermatophilosis in cattle, peste des petits ruminants and gastrointestinal helminthosis in sheep and goats, and Newcastle disease in poultry. Some aspects of epidemiology such as pathogen identification, prevalence and risk factors are examined in the light of research findings in the region. Control tools such as vaccines, chemotherapeutic or prophylactic agents, and protocols developed for their efficient use are also reviewed. Constraints to the effective use of these tools have been identified as mostly due to institutional insufficiencies and measures for improvement have been proposed. These include the promotion of private professional veterinary services endowed with greater responsibility in animal health care, creation and promotion of community-based animal health care units in areas of marginal professional coverage, and adoption of a regional approach to the control of diseases of economic importance.