South Africa: Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development On Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak Limpopo

press release

Joint statement of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and the FMD technical task team on the Foot-And-Mouth Disease outbreak in Limpopo

No further cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) were reported in the past week, but livestock owners and the general public should remain vigilant for clinical signs of FMD in their animals.

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 resulted after the 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. 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.

The Department encourages 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 current situation remains at 11 properties confirmed positive for FMD. Approximately 70 properties are being investigated due to possible links with specific auctions and affected properties. Follow-up investigations are continuing and precautionary quarantine has already been lifted on 5 of these properties that have been proven negative for FMD.

In order to bring normality to the trade of livestock, the Department and the FMD Technical Task Team urge 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, together with the Provincial Veterinary Services, started conducting awareness on FMD clinical signs and biosecurity measures in Limpopo Province during the week of 4th December and is continuing this week. Awareness was already conducted in 6 villages in the Molemole area and 315 farmers attended these sessions.

The Department still encourages animal owners 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;

Insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.

Any suspected cases of FMD should please 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.

Reggie Ngcobo - Media Liaison Officer

Cell: 082 883 2458

Dr Botlhe Modisane - Technical spokesperson on FMD

Cell: 063 693 0330

Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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