A message being distributed on social media declaring Limpopo's Vhembe district clear of foot and mouth disease (FMD) is false, according to authorities. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - A message being distributed on social media declaring Limpopo's Vhembe district clear of foot and mouth disease (FMD) is false, according to authorities. 

"This is fake news and this message should not be shared or distributed any further," said the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development and the FMD task team in a joint statement on Tuesday. 

Farms that had been identified as positive for FMD remained under precautionary quarantine until diagnostic testing had been completed and the area was declared clear of the disease. Restrictions remained in place, according to the statement. 

"The prohibition on the gathering of cloven hoofed animals from two or more properties, for distribution to two or more properties, as published in the Government Gazette on December 4, 2019 and applicable to the whole country, is still in place. This notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions of individual farms."

The gazetted notice is available on the department's website at www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth.

The department said animal owners should still apply basic measures to prevent livestock from being infected, including not moving high risk animals, only buying animals from a proven source and insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany bought animals. 

Any suspected cases of FMD should be reported to the nearest state vet office. 

African News Agency (ANA)