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Agri SA warns about outbreak of foot and mouth disease in northern Limpopo

Agri SA is deeply concerned about the announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) earlier today that South Africa’s Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)-free status was temporarily suspended.

DAFF suspended South Africa’s FMD-free status following laboratory testing which confirmed an outbreak of the disease in the far northern Limpopo province. This means any exports where FMD-free zone attestation is required, cannot be certified at present.

Experts from DAFF and Limpopo's veterinary services were conducting further investigations to verify results and determine the extent of the outbreak. Control measures will be determined following the findings of this investigation.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock with significant economic impact. It affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It does not affect human beings. Signs of FMD include depressed animals, sores in the mouths of animals causing a reluctance to eat, and lameness.

“Any reported occurrences of FMD must be treated with the utmost seriousness due to the significant implications this highly contagious disease may have for livestock and game farmers,” said Janse Rabie, Agri SA Head of Natural Resources. “Any suspected cases must be reported to the local state veterinarian immediately.”

DAFF has stated the affected area was under quarantine and no movement of animals and animal products was being allowed. The matter has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Monday (January 7, 2019).

Farmers further away from the outbreak have been cautioned to observe bio-security measures, which means they must not allow any new animals into their herds, and must minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms.

Janse Rabie
Agri SA Head: Natural Resources
(C) 076 451 9601
(E) janse@agrisa.co.za