South Africa: Gauteng On High Alert Following Outbreak of Foot and Mouth in Limpopo

Photo: New Era

The Gauteng Provincial Government has called on livestock farmers to take extra care in implementing measures to prevent any introduction of livestock with an unknown origin and disease status into their herds.

This follows the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the Vhembe and Capricorn Districts in Limpopo.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, appealed to Gauteng residents returning from holidays - particularly those who were visiting Vhembe, Mopani, Capricorn and surrounding areas - to avoid bringing back any live cloven-hoofed animals and/or any of their products.

"Foot and Mouth disease is a serious disease that spreads easily. It is caused by a virus. The virus is found in all body fluids such as saliva, urine, animal faeces, milk and in the air that is breathed out by all diseased animals.

"Although there have been no signs of the outbreak in Gauteng, we have asked our farmers to activate their bio-security protocols in order to ensure that preventative measures are in place," said Maile.

Farmers have been warned to be vigilant and observe the following signs, which may be signs of the virus:

- Blisters and sores in the mouth (gums, lips and tongue) of their livestock which are raw and painful, making it difficult for the animal to eat and often causes drooling.

- Blisters and sores between the toes and where the hooves join the skin which can cause the animals to limp and not want to walk around.

Humans can also spread the virus through unclean clothing, shoes, hands and car tyres.

MEC Maile urged residents to report any suspect case to the nearest State veterinarian.

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