Although no further cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) have been reported in the past week, livestock owners and the general public have been advised to remain vigilant for clinical signs of FMD in their animals.
In a joint statement with the Limpopo FMD Technical Task Team, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development encouraged livestock owners to limit the movement of cloven hoofed animals until the extent of the outbreak has been fully determined.
"If movements are necessary, the buyers are advised to request health declarations before any animals are bought from sellers to prevent the possible infection of new properties by positive animals being brought in.
"Private vets are asked to assist their clients by providing health declarations that indicate that the herd of origin has been inspected and found to be free of clinical signs of FMD and that all animals have been on the farm for at least 28 days before inspection. This will provide additional guarantees that FMD infected animals could not have been introduced onto the farm in that period," the department said.
Currently, 11 properties remained positive for FMD, with approximately 70 properties being investigated due to possible links with specific auctions and affected properties.
The department said that follow-up investigations are continuing and precautionary quarantine has already been lifted on five of the properties that have been proven negative for FMD.
Agricultural Produce Agents Council
In order to bring normality to the trade of livestock, the department and the FMD Technical Task Team has urged all auctioneers to register with the Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC).
"This is a legal requirement and auctioneers must comply with the conditions laid down in the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992). Additional biosecurity measures to be applied by registered auctioneers are under discussions and will be communicated as soon as finalised," the department said.
The department, together with the Provincial Veterinary Services have started conducting an awareness on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo Province. The awareness, which started from 4 December 2019 and continues this week, has already been attended by 315 farmers in six villages in the Molemole area.
Measures to prevent FMD
Animal owners are encouraged to apply the following basic measures to prevent their animals from being infected:
Not moving high risk animals;
Only buying animals from a proven source and
Insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.
Any suspected cases of FMD should be reported to the nearest State veterinary office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation.
Owners who have bought from known infected properties are also encouraged to report this to the provincial veterinary authorities for speedy follow-up investigations.
Prohibition on gathering of cloven hoofed animals
Meanwhile, the prohibition on the gathering of cloven hoofed animals from two or more properties for distribution to two or more properties has been published in the Government Gazette on 4 December 2019 and is applicable to the whole country.
This was declared after veterinary authorities identified that the short-term congregation and redistribution of cloven hoofed animals played an integral part in the spread of the disease in this outbreak.
The department said this notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions of individual farms.
The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth.