FMD outbreak in Zambezi

14 August 2019 | Agriculture

The movement of all cloven-hoofed animals and their products within, into and out of the Zambezi Region has been banned after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was confirmed at Sigwe village.

This was confirmed by the acting chief veterinary officer in the agriculture ministry, Albertina Musilika-Shilongo.

Sigwe village is located in the Kabbe North constituency and lies in the eastern floodplains of the Zambezi Region, about 90 km east of Katima Mulilo.

According to Musilika-Shilongo officials of the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) in the Zambezi Region were notified by farmers on 8 August that some of their animals were limping, salivating and not grazing.

“Clinical inspection of cattle was done and samples for laboratory analysis were taken. FMD was subsequently confirmed by the central laboratory in Windhoek on 11 August.”

According to Musilika-Shilongo the DVS investigation found that two kraals at Sigwe village were infected with FMD. About 50 of the 106 cattle showed signs of FMD infection. The population of cattle considered to be at risk of FMD infection is about 4 000.

The disease is suspected to have been transmitted to the cattle from African buffalo, which are known carriers of the virus that causes FMD.

Musilika-Shilongo said control measures were put in place immediately, including the movement ban. Movement restrictions of other potentially infectious commodities out of the Zambezi Region such as hides, skins, game trophies, grass and plant materials have also been imposed until further notice.

A number of roadblocks will be set up at strategic points and the public is urged to cooperate with veterinary and police officials.

Surveillance teams have been deployed in the region to establish the extent of the outbreak and farmers are requested to present their livestock for inspection.

“Immediate re-vaccination of all cattle at risk using a trivalent purified FMD vaccine will be conducted and all farmers are strongly urged to bring their cattle for vaccination to the designated crush pens,” said Musilika-Shilongo.

All previously issued permits into and out of the Zambezi Region have been cancelled and recalled, she said.

FMD is a viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals and is found is all excretions of infected animals. These animals breathe out a large amount of aerosolised virus which can infect other animals via respiratory or oral routes. The virus may be present in milk, semen, urine and dung. FMD is not readily transmissible to humans and is not a public health risk.

FMD clinical signs include salivation, limping, reluctance to move, fever, blisters and ulcers on the tongue, gum and on the hooves.

The disease can spread through infected animals newly introduced into a herd, contaminated transport vehicles, contaminated materials such as hay, feed, water, milk or biologics.

It can also spread through contaminated clothing, footwear or equipment, virus-infected meat or other contaminated animal products and animals that have recovered from the infection may sometime carry the virus and initiate new outbreaks.

ELLANIE SMIT

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