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Measures in place to contain FMD outbreak in Humansdorp

Home Advertising Measures in place to contain FMD outbreak in Humansdorp

THE Kouga Municipality said that due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the area, strict measures are being implemented within the Kouga region. Effective immediately, all movements of cattle, pigs and goats, whether on foot, roaming or on transportation are prohibited until further notice.

“This measure aims to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious viral infection,” the municipality said in a social media post.

In its foot and mouth disease outbreak report issued on 2 May, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development DALRRD) noted that FMD had been detected in the Eastern Cape.

The report said that clinical signs of FMD were detected on a farm in Humansdorp.  Samples were collected on 30 April 2024 and submitted to the laboratory at Onderstepoort.  The PCR and serology results were positive for FMD, the report noted.

“The Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services placed the affected farm under quarantine and a full epidemiological investigation has commenced to identify the possible origin and any other properties that could be at risk.  Immediate neighbours and all linked locations are placed under precautionary quarantine, pending clinical and serological investigation to determine their FMD status,” the DALRRD report said.

Gerhard Schutte, from the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation,  told Moneyweb’s Ryk van Niekerk in an interview on RSG on 7 May that the strain had been identified as the Kruger Game Reserve type.

Dairy products safe

Lex Gutsche, chairman and CEO of Woodlands Dairy located in the region reassured consumers that, although the disease is a serious threat, being a highly contagious viral infection impacting cloven-hoofed animals, its products are safe.

Gutsche said, “We want to assure the public that despite the severity of FMD, it does not endanger human health. There is no risk of illness for humans. It’s crucial to understand that pasteurised milk and dairy products remain safe for consumption even in areas affected by FMD. Rigorous pasteurisation effectively eliminates the virus, ensuring the safety of our dairy products.

“At Woodlands Dairy, we meticulously adhere to all mandated protocols for pasteurisation and food safety, guaranteeing the utmost safety of our products. The reason why pasteurisation is essential is that it eliminates any potential threat posed by the virus in infected milk from otherwise healthy animals, preventing its spread to other animals,” Gutsche said.

He added that everyone has a responsibility to prevent the spread of FMD. “It’s imperative to heed the biosecurity guidelines provided by authorities, such as refraining from contact with infected animals, diligently disinfecting footwear and equipment when visiting farms, and promptly reporting any suspected cases of FMD to local veterinary authorities.

“The duration of FMD outbreaks fluctuates depending on the efficacy of control measures and the extent of the outbreak. With swift detection, containment, and vaccination of susceptible animals, outbreaks can typically be resolved within a few weeks to months,” said Gutsche.

Open cases

The DALRDRRD FMD report noted that South Africa had a FMD free zone without vaccination prior to January 2019.  Since January 2019, nine outbreak events were reported in South Africa that compromised the status of the FMD free zone without vaccination.

Four of these FMD outbreak events were resolved and closed with the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), and five FMD outbreak events are open.  All outbreak events prior to 2021 have been resolved and closed with the WOAH.

The report lists the outbreak events that occurred since 2021 as follows:

  • SAT2 FMD outbreak event in KwaZulu Natal Province, with limited spread to the Free State Province. This outbreak event is still open.
  • SAT3 FMD outbreak event in Limpopo Province, with limited spread to Gauteng Province. This outbreak event has been resolved.
  • SAT3 FMD multi-province outbreak event, which involved North West, Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga Provinces. This outbreak event is still open.
  • SAT1 FMD outbreak event in the Mpumalanga Province FMD Protection Zone, which is still open.
  • FMD outbreak event of undetermined SAT type in the Free State Province, which is still open.
  • FMD outbreak event in the Eastern Cape Province, which is open.

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