South Africa limits livestock movement in response to FMD outbreak

CAPE TOWN, 6 June (Xinhua), South Africa – The South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, (DALRRD), on Thursday, called on livestock owners and farmers in all provinces, to limit the movements of cloven-hoofed livestock amid an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) within the Eastern Cape Province of the country.

The Department of Health released a statement on its website confirming that FMD had been confirmed in five farms located between Humansdorp, East London and the Eastern Cape.

The first farm reported to the DALRRD showed clinical signs of FMD and samples were taken immediately, on 30 April 2024. The DALRRD reported that since then, clinical symptoms of FMD have been found on four additional farms in the Humansdorp region, and one farm in the East London region.

The laboratory at Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, confirmed that samples collected from these farms were positive for SAT3 on both serology and PCR tests (polymerase-chain reaction). “Virus identifications have been made by sequencing, and the same SAT3 has been identified on these positive farms,” said the report.

The FMD virus is highly contagious. The disease is spread by cattle, sheep and goats as well as pigs and other animals with cloven hooves.

The DALRRD stressed that animals with cloven hooves should not be moved unless absolutely necessary. This is because the East London farm sourced its animals from multiple sources. This will enable the Department to quarantine and find any undetected affected properties in order to prevent the spread of disease.

The department stressed the importance of the incubation phase for FMD. This is the time when animals are healthy and in the early stages where they shed virus but do not show clinical signs.

The Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services confirmed that the Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services had placed certain locations under quarantine after they were found to be positive for FMD.

The DALRRD said that the virus load in these farms was reduced by vaccinating cattle and sheep against FMD.

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