The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) says no new cases of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) have been detected in the last seven weeks.
South Africa lost its 'FMD disease-free zone without vaccination' status, as granted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), on 7 January 2019.
This follows the department’s report confirming an outbreak of the disease in the high surveillance area of the FMD-free zone in Limpopo.
Giving a status update on Thursday, DAFF said that more than 13 000 animals in the previous FMD-free zone will be vaccinated twice by the end of March 2019.
“Sero-surveillance samples have been taken from all dip tanks and/or crush pens in the disease management area, and are being processed at Onderstepoort (OVR),” the department said.
The department, however, cautioned that movement control regulations are still in place and no animals may move out of, into or inside the disease management area without State veterinary approval.
“No unprocessed products of cloven-hooved animals are allowed out of the disease management area. Roadblocks are still in place and will probably be replaced with roving patrols in the near future,” the department said.
The department said an application to the OIE Technical Committee for declaration of a disease containment zone is being prepared and will be submitted before the end of April 2019.
If this application is successful, the department said, the FMD-free zone status of the rest of the country will be reinstated.
The department said while international guidelines are available for safe commodities with regards to FMD, each importing country retains the right to determine its appropriate level of protection.
It said the continuation of trade in safe commodities has been prioritised, and urged exporters to obtain import requirements via their contact points in the importing countries.
Safe commodities include any product that has been processed in such a way that FMD virus, should it be present, will have been destroyed.
Amongst the products the department considers as safe commodities are raw salted hides and skins; wet blue and crust hides; scoured wool; collagen and gelatine; meat of cloven hoofed animals that were slaughtered on or before 5 December 2018; deboned, deglanded, matured beef; pork from approved FMD-free pig compartments, and processed dairy and dairy products.
Opening countries for export
Meanwhile, the department said the establishment and approval of a disease containment zone will re-establish the previous FMD-free zone without vaccination status (excluding the FMD control zone and the disease containment zone), which will greatly enhance the re-opening of trade with all previous trading partners.
In the interim, the department has successfully negotiated the revision of veterinary health certificates for beef to Bahrain, Lesotho, Mozambique, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Swaziland, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.
Trade in pork from FMD-free pig compartments has also been re-opened to Lesotho, Seychelles, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Namibia (partially).
Negotiations are still underway in Namibia for beef and Botswana for pork.
“The markets for dairy products have largely been restored. Some markets for the export of hides, skins and wool are still affected and negotiations are taking place, in particular where products have been processed, to ensure the destruction of the FMD virus,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za