Following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the new hotspot of KwaHlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal, the department of agriculture has announced plans for a vaccination campaign.
In a media statement, the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development announced that the outbreak was showing signs of active spread. It added that some of the newly affected diptanks were close to the boundary of the Disease Management Area (DMA) and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve.
“This situation warrants the use of vaccination to reduce the viral load and, thus, control further spread of the disease,” the department wrote.
The department pointed out that at this stage the vaccination would be limited to cattle within the DMA. This is in order to slow down the spread of the disease, as well as to prevent spread outside the DMA and into the game reserve.
The vaccination campaign will take place in the disease management area.
“The intention is also not to vaccinate all animals inside the DMA, but only as necessary to contain the spread of the disease. A risk-based approach will be followed, to ensure that the areas at highest risk are vaccinated first. It is estimated that 40 000 animals will be vaccinated during the initial vaccination campaign, which will commence this month.”
Meanwhile the department vowed that communities affected by this decision would be engaged by the province’s veterinary services in the next few weeks, prior to vaccination. Furthermore, market access support to these communities will be provided as and when appropriate, the department said.
According to the statement, the department is actively engaging with a panel of implementing agents with the expertise to support farmers within the DMA who have been affected by FMD control measures and movement controls in the past eight months.
The movement protocol and permit system for movement of cloven-hoofed animals remains in place in the reduced DMA, it said.
“A renewed call is made to all stakeholders to continue complying with the movement restrictions that are still in place, as these restrictions are necessary to prevent the escape of the virus out of the affected areas and, therefore, shorten the duration of the outbreak,” the department said.
When it comes to the movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products into, out of, through, or within the reduced DMA, this was still only allowed on authority of a permit issued by the veterinary services of the area.
The movement protocol can be obtained from KZN Veterinary Services and livestock owners are encouraged to submit all applications for movement to the provincial veterinary movement control officers for evaluation and risk assessment. Applications and queries can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, the department said visible veterinary patrols and roadblocks will remain in place in the reduced DMA, to control the movement of livestock and to monitor adherence to the movement protocol.
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