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Foot-and-mouth Outbreak In Eastern Cape

 Foot-and-mouth outbreak in Eastern Cape By Lindi Botha |2 May 2024 | 3:51 pm Steps have been taken to prevent the spread of foot and mouth, a highly contagious viral disease, from an affected Eastern Cape farm to surrounding areas. Image for illustration purposes. Photo: Monika Kubala |Unsplash Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been detected in the Eastern Cape, making it the fourth province in South Africa to have open cases of the disease. Director for Animal Health at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Dr Mpho Maja confirmed that the outbreak occurred on 30 April on a farm in Humansdorp. READ Biosecurity protocols to combat livestock diseases “The Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services has placed the affected farm under quarantine and a full epidemiological investigation has commenced to identify the possible origin and any other properties that could be at risk,” she said. Immediate neighbours and all linked locations have also been placed under precautionary quarantine, pending clinical and serological investigation to determine their FMD status. This brings the number of active cases of FMD in South Africa to 167, across the Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Cases in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo have been resolved and closed by the World Organisation for Animal Health. READ Two common small-stock diseases farmers should be aware of Gerhard Schutte, former chairperson of the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation, told Farmer’s Weekly that the particular strain of FMD still needs to be determined, but that it is not deadly. “Over the last four years, I haven’t heard of a single death from FMD in South Africa. Although there are deadly strains, South Africa does not seem to have them.” Outbreak puts SA’s export reputation in jeopardy He, however, lamented the impact on South Africa’s reputation internationally as a country that could be relied on for safe meat exports. “Perception plays a big role in trade. We have been working really hard on 42 bilateral agreements to allow for meat exports from South Africa. We have just recently managed to open the Saudi Arabian market. This outbreak puts all of that in jeopardy.” Although yet to be confirmed, it is suspected that a livestock transportation truck from KwaZulu-Natal had brought the disease into the Eastern Cape. Farmers and service providers in the industry have therefore been cautioned to follow proper biosecurity protocols to prevent the spread of the disease from one area to another. South Africa had an FMD-free zone without vaccination before January 2019. To date, only the Western and Northern Cape provinces have remained FMD-free without vaccination. Gauteng has been regarded as FMD-free as of 13 March 2024

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