FARMERS in Namibia got wind of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, threatening the export- and import status of cloven hoofed animals to and from Namibia.
The outbreak, which was put under the spotlight by the Department of Veterinary Services in the South African ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, can have dire consequences for Namibian farmers.
Especially if it is found that the infected animals in the particular feedlot originates from Namibia.
However, yesterday a statement by the South African department responsible for dealing with the matter, said cross checking is going on to verify the numbers, the area and the origin of the animals and the strain of the virus involved.
Only then would further information be released and would action to be taken, be spelled out.
Imports of animals to South Africa should not be in danger if they find that the infected herd or animals are not from Namibia, a state veterinarian in Windhoek said, warning however that a wide range of actions can be taken, amongst which might be the import of animals and processed meat from South Africa might be in question.
The full statement by the South African Department of Veterinarian Services reads as follows:
On 1 November 2019, veterinary services were alerted to clinical signs suspicious for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in a heard of cattle on a farm in the Molemole district of Limpopo Province. This farm is located in the previous FMD-free zone of South Africa.
Samples were collected and FMD was confirmed on 1 November 2019 by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal Disease Programme.
Further identification of the strain is in process to determine the likely origin of the virus. The affected farm was placed under quarantine. Clinical examination of animals on the farm is being conducted to determine the prevalence of the disease on the affected farm. Measures were implemented to prevent direct or indirect contact between different groups of animals on the farm. Backward and forward tracing is in process to determine the possible origin of the virus, as well as locations to which the disease might have spread.
Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral disease which affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven hoofed animals.
Signs of the disease in animals may include depressed animals, sores in the mouth of animals causing reluctance to eat, and lameness.
The disease does not affect human beings and it is safe to consume products of cloven hoofed animals, such as meat and milk.
Farmers in the whole country are cautioned to observe bio-security measures – not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimize the movement of their own herds to other farms.
Any suspected case of the disease in animals must be reported to the local State Veterinarian immediately,” said the department.