Agriculture dept tackles Limpopo foot-and-mouth disease outbreak

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A joint technical team is inspecting the effect of the outbreak and looking for further measures to come up with a comprehensive containment plan.

The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (Daff) has warned stock farmers to guard against the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Vhembe region of Limpopo.

Spokesperson for the department, Khaye Nkwanyana, said the department was informed yesterday of positive laboratory results for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in cattle in that area. He said samples were collected during a disease investigation after reports of cattle with lameness were received.

Nkwanyana said the location of the outbreak was just outside the FMD Control Zone, where animals had not been vaccinated.

“A team of experts from the department and the Limpopo veterinary services is on the ground conducting further investigations to verify the results and determine the extent of the outbreak.

“Control measures will be determined by the findings of this investigation,” he said.

Nkwanyana said the matter was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Monday.

“As a result of this development, the official OIE recognised FMD-free status of South Africa is temporarily suspended.

“Consequently, any exports where FMD free zone attestation is required cannot be certified,” he added.

Yesterday the department took advantage of the outbreak to explain the signs and dangers of FMD in cattle stock farming.

The department said FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock with significant economic impact.

The disease, according to the department affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals.

“The disease does not affect human beings. Signs of disease may include depressed animals and sores in the mouth of animals, causing reluctance to eat and lameness.

“The affected area is under quarantine and no movement of animals and animal products is allowed. Farmers further away from the outbreak are cautioned to observe bio-security measures – not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms,” said the department.

Limpopo’s head of the department of agriculture and rural development, Jacqueline Maisela, spent the better part of the day yesterday leading a joint technical team with the department of agriculture to inspect the effect of the outbreak and look for further measures to come up with a comprehensive containment plan.

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