In a shocking new development, government declared three KwaZulu-Natal districts as disease management areas. This, as the province struggles to contain a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Last night, the agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, announced that King Cetshwayo, Umkhanyakude and Zululand were placed under “precautionary quarantine”.
An FMD outbreak in the Umkhanyakude district was first confirmed in May. Since then, 12 positive locations were identified with affected areas being placed under quarantine, said Didiza.
While the outbreak origins are still under investigation, Didiza added that follow-up investigations were now being conducted to determine whether the disease had spread to other areas.
Under the declaration of disease management, the movement of cloven-hoofed animals, their products and genetic material is not allowed, except on authority of a permit issued by veterinary services in the area.
Didiza said, “In order to help all of us, as a country and as a farming community, to manage the spread of this disease, it is important to contain the movement of animals as well as meat from these areas.”
The minister also confirmed that the virus responsible for the outbreak has been identified as FMD SAT2.
Several suspected locations were identified through clinical investigations, and trace-back and trace-forward exercises, including a commercial feedlot.
She said, “As of 25 June 2021, 13 229 samples from 390 locations have been collected. Of those samples, 8 616 have already been tested, with daily testing of the remaining samples continuing at the Transboundary Animal Diseases Laboratory at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research facility of the Agricultural Research Council.”
What does this mean for farmers?
• The movement of live cloven-hoofed animals out of the disease management areas is generally discouraged. If allowed, it is subject to stringent risk mitigation measures, and thus a permit with conditions from the state veterinarian is required.
• The movement of live cloven-hoofed animals through the disease management areas is not permitted.
• The movement of live cloven-hoofed animals into or within the disease management areas for slaughter purposes is possible under specific conditions. This is based on a risk assessment of the biosecurity at origin and destination.
• The movement of meat from cloven-hoofed animals is possible out of, within and through the disease management areas, under specific conditions.
• There is no restriction for meat and meat products moving into the disease management areas. However, products must be accompanied by a proof of purchase stating the origin of such products.
• The movement of hides, skins, trophies, bones, and horns out of or within the disease management areas are allowed under specific conditions. Movements of such products into or through these areas are not subject to any restrictions.
• There is neither restrictions for milk and milk products, wool and hair, nor for non-FMD-susceptible animals moving into, out of, within or through the disease management areas.