Foot-and-mouth disease confirmed on three farms in Eastern Cape

The department said these recent outbreaks again put the spotlight on the importance of biosecurity on farms. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers.

The department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (Dalrrd) yesterday said the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been confirmed on three farms in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape province.

Dalrrd spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said clinical signs of FMD were observed on the first reported farm, and samples were collected on April 30.

“The laboratory at Onderstepoort confirmed that the results are positive for SAT3 on serology and PCR tests,” Ngcobo said.

He added that the SAT3 virus responsible for the outbreak on the index farm was almost identical to the virus that caused the widespread FMD outbreaks in 2021-2022 in Limpopo, North-West, Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

“The Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services placed the index farm under quarantine and a full epidemiological investigation has commenced to identify the possible origin and any other properties that could be at risk,” Ngcobo said.

“Immediate neighbours and all linked locations are placed under precautionary quarantine, pending clinical and serological investigation to determine their FMD status.

“One additional farm was found to be positive for FMD as a result of the forward and backward tracing. Cattle and sheep on the two affected farms were vaccinated against FMD to reduce the viral load on these farms.”

The department said an alert was received of a third farm in the Humansdorp area where animals were showing clinical signs of FMD.

“Eastern Cape Provincial Veterinary Services visited the farm on 14 May 2024 and confirmed that the clinical signs are highly suspicious for FMD,” said the department.

“Samples were collected and dispatched to the laboratory and the results confirmed FMD infection on the farm.”

Dalrrd said these recent outbreaks again put the spotlight on the importance of biosecurity on farms.

Ngcobo said that regarding the recent calls for area-wide movement restrictions, the decision to implement movement controls in large areas was not taken lightly as they tend to be highly disruptive to industry as a whole by impacting not only those whose animals affected but also innocent bystanders and must be duly gazetted.

He said in the meantime, all properties where the disease has been confirmed, as well as farms in the 10km radius, have been placed under quarantine.

“No susceptible animals (Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and cloven hooved game) are allowed onto move into, out of and through these farms,” he said.

“Foot and mouth disease is transmitted mainly by the movement of live clove hoofed livestock between different locations, and urge all owners not to move animals if there is a suspicion of illness.”

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