Foot and mouth disease affected locations in Limpopo now stands at 16
PRETORIA - The total number of confirmed foot and mouth disease (FMD) affected locations in Limpopo has increased to 16 since the outbreak in the province late last year, according to the agriculture, land reform, and rural development department.
"The department wishes to emphasise that the new cases found do not mean that the outbreak is actively spreading," the department said in a statement.
"It is an indication that the disease control efforts are effective in identifying positive locations, which became infected after the initial spread of the disease from specific [livestock] auctions in September and October 2019."
Most of the positive locations, all in Limpopo, were found as a result of the continued trace-forward and trace-back investigations of the FMD outbreak, the department said.
This meant that all premises with links to known positive locations and specific auctions were followed up and tested. More than 130 points were identified and precautionary quarantine had been lifted on 57 properties that had proven negative for FMD after clinical examination and testing.
All properties where the disease had been confirmed had been placed under quarantine and movement restrictions were in place. Procedures had been finalised for animals on FMD quarantined properties to undergo early slaughter at designated abattoirs with specific conditions to prevent the spread of FMD.
One abattoir had been designated so far and three affected feedlots had been approved to proceed with early slaughter of animals, provided that the animals were not showing active signs of the disease.
"FMD does not affect people. Therefore, meat and milk from infected livestock is safe for human consumption. However, the movement of these products must be controlled, as it can still spread the disease to other cloven hoofed livestock," the department said.
The department, together with the Limpopo veterinary services, had conducted awareness campaigns on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo from early December, and this initiative was continuing in the new year. Awareness campaigns had already been conducted in 14 villages in the Molemole area and also during two farmers’ days.
"The department still encourages all livestock owners to maintain strict biosecurity on their farms. Any clinical signs of FMD should be reported to the nearest state veterinary office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation. Clients are further advised to still limit the movement of cloven hoofed animals onto their farms. If movements are necessary, the buyers are advised to insist on health declarations issued by the sellers’ private veterinarians, attesting to the health status of the animals and the farm of origin."
The ban on the gathering of cloven hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, remained in place in the whole country. This notice did not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions at individual farms.
The gazetted notice was available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth. This ban would be reassessed by the department once the extent of the outbreak had been satisfactorily determined through the ongoing epidemiological investigation, the statement said.