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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been identified in 22 locations in KwaZulu-Natal, with the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza pointing out that these locations include two clusters of dip tanks in communal grazing land and two commercial feedlots.
On Monday, 9 August 2021, Minister Didiza explained that the disease was first identified in one of the communal areas in Matubaba before spreading. As a result, the areas of King Cetshwayo, Umkhanyakude and Zululand districts have been cornered off, and the two affected feedlots have been placed under quarantine. Minister Didiza added, “This would allow for veterinarians to test how many animals are affected.”
Provision has now been made, allowing for the early slaughter of livestock from the said feedlots. However, strict additional risk mitigation measures have been implemented to efficiently reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Cattle may only move out of the feedlots for direct slaughter at designated abattoirs, with specific provisions for risk mitigation measures in line with the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code to ensure that the risk of spreading the FMD virus is negligible. Sadly, meat from the affected premises is not eligible for export.
In addition, a movement protocol and permit system for the transportation of cloven-hoofed animals has been implemented in the diseases management area to suppress the disease and prevent even further spread.
So far, a total of 165 permits have been granted for the movement of animals into the disease’s management area for direct slaughter. On top of this, livestock owners are urged to submit all the necessary applications for movement to provincial veterinary movement control officers for the required evaluations and risk assessment.
Additionally, a staggering 435 locations were inspected and sampled to test for foot and mouth disease since the virus was detected.
Varied clinical signs have been reported in the 22 locations, with cattle in some serologically positive locations showing no visible signs of infection, while others show classical clinical signs of FMD. Clinical and serological surveillance is underway at the feedlots in order to get a better picture of the status of the animals.
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