10 February 2013

Tanzania: Ngara Under Quarantine to Contain FMD

Bukoba — AUTHORITIES in Ngara District have imposed a quarantine following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the region.

Ngara District Livestock Development Officer, Dr Richard Ngowi, said here that movement of livestock has been prohibited during the quarantine period. He said the quarantine follows an outbreak of FMD in neighbouring Districts of Kibungo (Rwanda) and Muyinga (Burundi).

Foot and Mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease, is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral infection that affects cloven- hoofed animals, including domestic and wild birds.

The virus causes a high fever for two or three days followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness. Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) is a severe plague for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.

Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions and quarantines, and occasionally the elimination of millions of animals. Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelopes, deer and bison.

It has also been known to infect hedgehogs, and elephants, ilamas and alpacas and may develop mild symptoms, but are resistant to the disease and do not pass it on to others of the same species.

In laboratory experiments, mice, rats and chickens have been successfully infected by artificial means, but they are not believed to contract the disease under natural conditions. Humans are very rarely infected.

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