A clampdown on the movement of cloven-hoofed animals has been imposed in several KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) regions after an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle was identified in Mtubatuba.
According to a statement by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, samples were collected on 26 May during routine disease surveillance, after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing suspicious lesions at one communal location.
The location is in an area that was part of the FMD-free zone.
“The diagnosis was confirmed by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Laboratory on 27 May 2021. Viral typing is ongoing to determine the identity of virus involved in this outbreak,” the department said in a statement.
“A team of officials from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) are conducting further investigations to determine the extent of the outbreak.
“The control measures will be determined by the findings of this investigation.”
FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock and which carries significant economic impact.
The disease does not affect humans, the department said.
“FMD affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals (domestic and wild). The major clinical features of the disease include fever, lameness, and the appearance of vesicles and sores in the mouth, feet, teats and mammary glands. Pain and discomfort from these blisters and sores lead to other signs of disease such as depression, excessive salivation, lameness, and reluctance to eat, move or stand.”
To curb the spread of the disease, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, ordered the immediate, but temporary standstill of all cloven-hoofed animals, including both livestock and game in the affected and surrounding areas.
The standstill was imposed in the district municipalities of King Cetshwayo and Umkhanyakude, as well as the local municipalities of Nongoma, Ulundi and Pongola in the Zululand district municipality.
“No movement of live cloven-hoofed animals is allowed into and out of or through these districts. The area under standstill will be reviewed within two weeks, based on further disease investigations.”
“Farmers in the temporary standstill area are requested to abide by the movement stop until the outcome of disease investigations allows for the control measures to be refined.”
“Farmers in the northern region of KZN, outside the temporary standstill area, are cautioned to observe bio-security measures – not to allow any new animals into their herds and to minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms.”
Didiza also established an FMD Task Team, which would prioritise all matters related to this outbreak, and a Veterinary Operational Committee is dealing with the outbreak at a provincial level.