While the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal is still continuing and vaccination campaigns have begun, two new affected areas have been identified in the province. This as the national department of agriculture confirmed another case on a commercial stud farm in North West as well as one in Limpopo.
The announcement comes on the heels of the KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture ordering a five-year ban on the movement of cloven-hoofed animals in three districts as the province battles FMD outbreaks.
According to the minister of agriculture, Thoko Didiza, a commercial stud farm in North West and other linked farms have been placed under quarantine. Provincial veterinary services conducted epidemiological investigations following reports.
Positive laboratory results confirmed the diagnosis and further surveillance in the area is being conducted to determine the extent of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, another outbreak of FMD was detected in the previously FMD-free zone in Collins Chabane municipality (Vhembe) in Limpopo.
According to the department, infection was detected in two locations in this area and involves cattle in communal grazing areas.
Disease management area
One of the two new infected locations is in the disease management area (DMA), which was declared in January 2019 and which remains in place, while the other is north of it. Other locations in the area with clinical signs suggestive of FMD are under investigation, the department said.
“This outbreak is most likely due to spill-over from an outbreak in the adjacent FMD protection zone, which was detected in March 2021.
“There are permanent movement restrictions in place in the protection zone, preventing the free movement of cloven-hoofed livestock into the FMD-free zone. The affected dip tanks were placed under quarantine and no cloven-hoofed animals were allowed to move from these locations,” the department said.
In an effort to curtail the spread of the disease, cattle in affected areas the department reported have been vaccinated. This is to establish a band of resistant animals around the known positive dip tanks.
Based on surveillance activities conducted in the second half of 2021, it appeared at the time that the infection had come to an end. However, it resurfaced in 2022 in the former FMD-free zone.
Surveillance activities in the newly affected area are underway to determine the extent of the spread of the disease both within the DMA and to the north of the DMA. Vaccination in the area has started in an effort to curtail further spread of the disease.
Didiza has reminded livestock owners that the disease is transmitted by moving cattle from infected premises and urge all owners not to move animals if there is a suspicion of illness.
“All buyers must ensure they get an attestation from the seller, confirming the health status of the animals they are buying. Should any suspicious clinical symptoms (salivation, blisters in the mouth, limping or hoof lesions) be seen, it should be reported to the local state veterinarian immediately and such animals must not be moved under any circumstances,” she pointed out.
More cases reported in KZN
Meanwhile, the FMD outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal is still continuing and the vaccination campaign has begun. However, two new affected locations have been identified.
The department said in a media release that one falls just outside of the DMA in the Mthonjaneni municipality, while the other one falls to the south-west of the DMA, in the uMlalazi municipality.
The newly infected dip tanks have been placed under quarantine, and no cloven-hoofed animals are allowed to move from these locations. Clinical and serological surveillance has been intensified in the dip tanks surrounding the newly infected area to determine the extent of the spread, the department said.
Meanwhile, all farmers, livestock owners, members of industry and other stakeholders are urged to abide by the movement restrictions in place in both KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, as well as the restrictions within the affected areas. These restrictions, the department cautioned, are deemed necessary to prevent the further spread of the virus out of the affected areas.
All farmers, livestock owners, members of industry and other stakeholders in the rest of the country are urged to use caution when sourcing cattle.
“The notion of ‘know what you are buying’ holds true in this instance. Ensure that you know the health of the animals you are investing in and where possible, seek a health attestation from the seller’s veterinarian,” Didiza pointed out.
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