Vaccination for foot and mouth disease commences

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. Picture: Shutterstock

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. Picture: Shutterstock

The outbreak is currently limited to Vhembe district, at Sundani village.

The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) on Monday said they had started administering vaccination for the outbreak of foot, and mouth disease (FMD) in the 20km radius around the Vhembe District of Limpopo.

DAFF confirmed FMD in cattle — by collecting samples during a disease investigation — after reports of cattle with lameness were received.

The positive location is just outside the FMD Control Zone in the Free Zone without vaccination.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana said a team of veterinary services experts was on the ground conducting further investigations to check the extent of the spread of the disease.

He said the affected cattle were less than 50 in an area with about 10,000 to 15,000 cattle.

“The area remains under quarantine and the vaccination process is beginning, so that no further infections can occur. FMD is not transmittable to human beings and there should be no panic whatsoever,” he said.

Despite the department being confident that it had the situation under control, neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe and Botswana have suspended exports from the country.

Zokwana said they had set up a trade committee to engage with foreign markets where the industry exports to.

“This committee will look beyond FMD and look at market gaps and opportunities.”

Local livestock owners were urged to report any suspicion of clinical cases to the veterinary or extension officials in the area.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease that affects livestock, with significant economic impact. The disease affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals.

Signs of disease may include depressed animals, and sores in the mouth of animals, causing reluctance to eat and lameness. The disease does not affect human beings and it is safe to consume products of cloven hoofed animals, such as their meat and milk.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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