Government has suspended the sale and movement of animals in some parts of Mzimba following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Livestock movement restricted in the wake of foot and mouth disease scare
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development said the affected area is Champhira Extension Planning Area (EPA) which include the areas of Jenda, Champhira and Manyamula.
The officials said out of the 5,000 cattle tested for the foot and mouth disease, 284 tested positive.
The area has at least 80,000 cattle.
According to the Ministry, the disease was first reported at Zioni village, Champhira Extension Planning Area (EPA) on February 25 and has since spread to Jenda Trading Centre, Manyamula and Edingeni.
"Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral disease that mostly affects cattle. Preliminary investigations by veterinary officials indicate 284 clinical cases out of a total of 5,080 cattle in the affected kholas.
"Detailed investigations are still on going to establish the magnitude of spread and map the extent of the problem. Meanwhile, around 80,000 cattle remain at immediate risk within the affected Extension Planning Area and the immediate surrounding areas," said Gray Nyandule Phiri, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Ministry has since banned slaughters of all livestock (cattle, goats, sheep and pigs) and has also suspended all livestock markets in the district.
The Ministry has also issued a ban on issuance of livestock permits, restricting livestock and livestock products movements.
According to Nyandule Phiri, the restrictions and all measures put in place are in conformity with the Control and Animal Diseases Act (Cap 66:02), and the World Animal Health Organisation guidelines.
"The Ministry is currently working around the clock to contain the disease and will provide regular updates to the general public on the situation from time to time. The Ministry is also urging all livestock farmers and the general public to cooperate with its officials and security officers during the implementation of these measures," he advised.