A health officer checks for foot-and-mouth disease. File picture: Moon Yo-han/News1 via Reuters.
A health officer checks for foot-and-mouth disease. File picture: Moon Yo-han/News1 via Reuters.

Restrictions imposed as fears soar over foot-and-mouth disease

By Vernon Mchunu Time of article published Jul 1, 2021

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DURBAN - Movement of cloven-hoofed animals in and out of KwaZulu-Natal’s three north-bound districts has been restricted following confirmation of an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease, with 12 positive locations already placed under quarantine.

A number of suspect locations were identified as disease prone through clinical investigations, compelling Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Minister Thoko Didiza to declare the district municipalities of King Cetshwayo (Richards Bay), Umkhanyakude (Mkhuze) and Zululand (Ulundi) as the “Disease Management Area (KZN DMA)”, the department has warned.

The declaration, issued along the lines of the disaster management declaration, was gazetted this week as Gazette No. 44783, Didiza said.

“This is a government effort aimed at preventing a further spread of FMD disease. The movement of cloven-hoofed animals, their products and genetic material into or out of the DMA is not allowed, except on authority of a permit issued by local Veterinary Services,” she said.

The identified risk areas were placed under “precautionary quarantine and follow-up investigations are being conducted to determine whether or not the infection has spread”.

By June 25, 2021, 13 229 samples from 390 locations had been collected, of which 8 616 have already been tested, with daily testing of the remaining samples continuing at the Transboundary Animal Diseases Laboratory at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research facility of the Agricultural Research Council, said Didiza.

On May 27, the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and DALRRD confirmed an outbreak of the disease in cattle in the Umkhanyakude district.

Didiza said the virus responsible for the outbreak was subsequently identified as a FMD SAT2, adding that its origin was still under investigation.

“Intensive follow-up investigations were conducted by a team of officials from DARD and the DALRRD to determine the extent of the outbreak.”

With the full safety measures available from the KZN Veterinary Services upon request, Didiza announced the movement protocol – compiled by the KZN Veterinary Operations Committee in partnership with DALRRD – as follows:

Movements of live cloven-hoofed animals out of the DMA is generally discouraged and, if allowed, is subject to stringent risk mitigation measures, and thus a permit with conditions from the State Veterinarian is required.

Movements of live cloven-hoofed animals in or out of the DMA is not permitted.

Movements of live cloven-hoofed animals into or within the DMA for slaughter purposes is possible under specific conditions, and on the basis of a risk assessment of the biosecurity at origin and destination.

Movements of meat from cloven-hoofed animals is possible out of, within and through the DMA, under specific conditions.

There is no restriction for meat and meat products moving into the DMA, however, products must be accompanied by a proof of purchase stating the origin of such products.

Movements of hides, skins, trophies, bones and horns out of or within the DMA are allowed under specific conditions. Movements of such products into or through the DMA are not subject to any restrictions.

There are neither restrictions for milk and milk products, wool and hair, nor for non-FMD-susceptible animals moving into, out of, within or through the DMA.

All applications for veterinary movement permits must be submitted to [email protected] at least fvie working days before the intended movement.

All movements for which a risk assessment is required should be submitted to the email address above, at least 28 days before the intended movement, taking into consideration that a quarantine period (a minimum of 21 days) may apply before movement will be permitted.

THE MERCURY

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