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Government gives feedback on Molemole FMD outbreak

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural reform (DALRRD) has released a follow up report on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that occurred in Limpopo, Molemole.

According to DALRRD’s directorate of animal health, the outbreak was detected on 1 November 2019 and confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) at Transboundary Animal Disease – Onderstepoort Veterinary Research of the Agricultural Research Council.

“The virus responsible for the outbreak is a SAT 2 serotype and is closely related to the virus responsible for the outbreak that occurred in January 2019, as well as the outbreaks in the FMD protection zone in May and August 2018” said Mpho Maja of the directorate of animal health.  

Earlier this year, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza had assured all stakeholders concerned that her department will provide feedback on her departmental monitoring and evaluation of the outbreak.

“We do not take the decision to ban all gatherings lightly, and we are fully aware of the economic as well as social implications of these measures. I assure you that it is meant to be temporary in order to curb the spread of the disease, and this remains the intention” she said then to the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development.

The department had further catalogued the number of backward and forward tracing from auctions and the known positive locations.  A total of 200 properties were followed up with clinical inspection and serological testing.

“In total, 19 positive locations were identified, mainly through traceback and trace-forward exercises. The last positive location was reported to the OIE on 26 February 2020 and more than 6 months have passed since the clinical end point on most affected properties.”

Since 20 January 2020, more than 11 000 cattle from premises under quarantine where slaughtered. Six of the infected premises were feedlots and where duly depopulated and disinfected. Four feedlots still had animals in the feedlot or on the farm and these premises where still under quarantine it said.

The process of resolving the outbreak was ongoing and quarantine had been lifted on 9 of the 19 positive locations.

Maja said these 19 positive locations included commercial cattle breeding farms and cattle feedlots, as well as a community farm. The clinically affected animals were cattle in all cases.

DALRRD further confirmed that in the period from January 2019 to July 2020, approximately 90 clinical suspicions were followed up and were all found to be negative for FMD. These suspicions were reported in 6 of the 9 Provinces, and in cattle, sheep or goats.

The FMD Continuous Survey was roped in on a continuous basis to allow for early detection – should there be any disease occurrence in the Protection Zone or the High Surveillance Area.

“At each sampling point, clinical examination is done and serum samples are collected for serology” said Maja.

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