Foot and Mouth disease outbreak detected in northern KZN

Foot and Mouth disease outbreak detected in northern KZN

The Department of Agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal has placed a total ban on the movement of livestock in northern parts of the province following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

The department says it is trying to curb the spread which has been detected in three regions. KwaHlabisa, KwaNongoma and Mtubatuba are among the most affected.

FOOT AND MOUTH OUTBREAK DETECTED IN KZN

Symptoms of Foot and Mouth include:

  • Formation of vesicles in the mouth and on the feet (interdigital space, coronary band and bulbs of the heel)
  • Lameness and salivation (sometimes lacrimation), smacking of the lips, grinding of the teeth and a nasal discharge

Dr Thembelihle Sikhakhane from the province’s department of agriculture’s veterinary services said the disease is easily spread when people move their livestock.

“We are having an outbreak of Foot and Mouth and it’s spreading and areas that are of concern is Hlabisa, Nongoma area. We are currently vaccinating. The biggest spreader of Foot and Mouth is moving cattle from one area to another, that’s why we are in this problem.

“We’ve been asking our people not to move their livestock but people have been paying lobolas. The case in point with the Hlabisa outbreak is because someone received a lobola payment that’s why (there is) Foot and Mouth in Hlabisa. We now have a massive problem where everybody is affected, people should not be moving animals,” Sikhakhane said.

One of the farmers said this will hit them hard as they rely on and make a living by selling cows.

“Cows are our only hope. They are our source of income which enables us to buy food. Right now we don’t know what is going to happen because they (cows) are sick,” the farmer said.

The farmer also said that he is not sure if they will still be able to take their children to school because they use the very same money they make from selling cows to take their children to school.

KZN Agriculture MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi urged cattle farmers to stop selling cows in order to limit the movement and spread of the Foot and Mouth disease.

“This will be the case until we are certain that all cattles have been vaccinated and that they are negative of Foot and Mouth disease.”