KZN keeps close watch on foot and mouth outbreak

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development has intensified surveillance north of White Umfolozi River in a bid to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The department is also collecting samples from the various parts of UMkhanyakude District to assess if there are any new FMD cases and further determine the extent of the virus on those animals that have already tested positive.

The department cannot confirm the originality of the outbreak at this stage. 

Livestock owners in the Ingwavuma area, north of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (Isimangaliso), the South West of the Mkuze Game Reserve, as well as the area east of the Pongola Nature Reserve have in the meantime been requested to minimize the movement of cloven hoofed animals. 

The department says it has no proof that the absence of the red line fence has contributed to the outbreak of the disease. The red line fence is used to protect local livestock from those in neighbouring countries (Swaziland and Mozambique). The department says it is the processes of erecting the fence, which fell into a state of disrepair almost eight years ago.

The department appealed to the farming community in northern KZN not to panic as their livestock was not in any immediate danger. They stressed that the current situation was not the same as the one that occurred around Camperdown in 2000.

A team of experts on animal health from the national and provincial departments is on the ground working with livestock farmers in trying to contain the spread. 

The department will vaccinate animals. It urged all suspected cases of FMD disease to be reported to the local State Veterinarian. - BuaNews

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