No foot and mouth outbreak in GP

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pretoria - Contrary to reports suggesting the spread of foot and mouth disease in Gauteng, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has assured that there was no outbreak of the disease in the province.

DAFF said an intensive investigation, conducted by a team of experts from its provincial offices in KwaZulu-Natal, had revealed that animals were moved from Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal to a feedlot in Gauteng.

The feedlot in Gauteng, whose identity could not be disclosed in terms of the Animal Diseases Act 35 of 1984, had since been placed under quarantine as a precautionary measure while the matter was being investigated further.

"Samples were also collected from the said feedlot and came back positive on serology, but negative on non-structural proteins (NSP) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) - which means that the fragments of the virus cannot be found. This can be interpreted as an old infection, with no virus circulating," the department said.

Vryheid remains in the protection zone - an area which prevents diseased animals from coming into contact with healthy ones - as per the department's declaration. Also, samples collected in this area have tested negative for the disease. 

"The department, together with the Gauteng Veterinary Authorities, has met up with the affected feedlot management and put up a control strategy in place to ensure that the rest of the animal population in the country is protected," said DAFF.

The owners of the farm were cooperating with the department, and the matter will be speedily resolved.