South Africa: FMD Confirmed in 11 Commercial Properties

Eleven commercial properties with an estimated 14 000 cattle have been found to be infected with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) since the outbreak was first discovered in Molemole four weeks ago.

The 11 commercial properties which were found to be infected include seven in the Capricorn, two in the Vhembe and two in the Mopani District Municipalities.

"All affected properties have been linked directly or indirectly to cattle sold at auctions. Further follow-up investigation and sampling is still being conducted to determine the extent of the outbreak," a joint statement by Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and Limpopo's FMD outbreak Technical Task Team said.

According to the statement, all suspected and infected properties have been placed under quarantine and no livestock is allowed to move in, through or out of the affected properties.

The neighbouring properties have also been placed under quarantine.

"Quarantine on the suspected and neighbouring properties will be lifted as soon as it has been proven that all animals on these properties are free of FMD. The owners of infected properties have been given slaughter out options to facilitate depopulation," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has gazetted a national ban on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals, including livestock auctions, shows and similar activities.

The gazette is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth.

According to Section 11 of the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No. 35) it is the responsibility of "any owner or manager of land on which there are animals to take all reasonable steps to prevent the infection of the animals with any animal disease, or parasite and the spreading thereof from the relevant land or animals."

Also, anyone spreading FMD through the movement of animals, may be held civilly and or criminally liable for such an offence.

The department has encouraged all livestock owners to observe strict biosecurity measures on their premises. The biosecurity guidelines are available on the National Animal Health Forum website www.nahf.co.za.

Measures to prevent FMD

It is important that all livestock owners familiarise themselves with the measures to prevent their animals from being infected.

They include not moving high risk animals; only buying animals from a proven source and insisting on a veterinary attestation/health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.

"Adherence to the above measures will assist government and farmers to resolve the situation. It is vital that all stakeholders act reasonably, responsibly and according to the law at all times," the department said.

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