The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza has announced an outbreak of Foot-and–Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in cattle in Mtubatuba under UMkhanyakude District Municipality in KwaZulu- Natal.
The department collected samples on 26 May during routine disease surveillance, after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing suspicious lesions at one communal location. The location is in an area that was part of the FMD-free zone prior to the suspension of this internationally recognised status by the OIE in 2019.
DALRRD spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said the diagnosis was confirmed by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Laboratory on 27 May 2021.
“Viral typing is ongoing to determine the identity of virus involved in this outbreak. A team of officials from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) are conducting further investigations to determine the extent of the outbreak. The control measures will be determined by the findings of this investigation,” said Ngcobo.
In an effort to prevent further spread of the disease while the extent of the outbreak is being determined, an immediate temporary standstill of all cloven-hoofed animals, including livestock and game, has been imposed in the District Municipalities of King Cetshwayo and Umkhanyakude, as well as the Local Municipalities of Nongoma, Ulundi and Pongola in the Zululand District Municipality.
No movement of live cloven hoofed animals is allowed into and out of or through these districts. The area under standstill will be reviewed within two weeks, based on further disease investigations.
Minister Didiza has established a FMD Task Team, to prioritise all matters related to this outbreak and a Veterinary Operational Committee is dealing with the outbreak at a provincial level.
Farmers in the temporary standstill area are requested to abide by the movement stop until the outcome of disease investigations allows for the control measures to be refined.
Farmers in northern region of KZN, outside the temporary standstill area, are cautioned to observe bio-security measures – not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms.
Any suspected case of FMD in susceptible animals must be reported to the local State Veterinarian immediately. FMD affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and other cloven hoofed animals (domestic and wild). The major clinical features of the disease include fever, lameness, and the appearance of vesicles and sores in the mouth, feet, teats and mammary glands. Pain and discomfort from these vesicles and sores lead to other signs of disease such as depression, excessive salivation, lameness, and reluctance to eat, move or stand. FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock with significant economic impact. The disease does not affect human beings, hence the consumers have no reason for concern.