The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development says it will undertake an animal vaccination campaign to control Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in KwaZulu-Natal.
The campaign, which will take place at the Disease Management Area (DMA), follows FMD outbreak at the new hotspot in KwaHlabisa,.
In a statement on Wednesday, the department said the outbreak is showing signs of active spread, and some of the newly affected dip tanks are close to the boundary of the DMA and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve.
“This situation warrants the use of vaccination to reduce the viral load and thus, control further spread of the disease,” the department said.
At this stage, the department said the vaccination will be limited to cattle within the DMA, in order to slow down the spread of the disease, as well as to prevent spread outside the DMA and into the game reserve.
The department said the intention is not to vaccinate all animals inside the DMA, but to use vaccination “only as [a] necessary [means] to contain the spread of the disease.”
“A risk-based approach will be followed to ensure that the areas at highest risk are vaccinated first. It is estimated that 40 000 animals will be vaccinated during the initial vaccination campaign, which will commence this month.
“Communities that are affected by this decision will be engaged by the KZN Veterinary Services in the next few weeks, prior to vaccination. Market access support to these communities will be provided, as and when appropriate,” the department said.
The department is actively engaging with a panel of implementing agents that have the expertise to undertake certain identified functions aimed at supporting farmers within the DMA who have been affected by FMD control measures and movement controls in the past eight months.
Movement restrictions of cloven-hoofed animals remains
Meanwhile, the department said the movement protocol and permit system for movement of cloven-hoofed animals remains in place in the reduced DMA.
It also reiterated a call to all stakeholders to continue complying with the movement restrictions that are still in place, as the restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus out of the affected areas.
“Movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products into, out of, through, or within the reduced DMA is still only allowed on authority of a permit issued by the veterinary services of the area. The movement protocol can be obtained from KZN Veterinary Services,” the department said.
Livestock owners are encouraged to submit all applications for movement to the Provincial Veterinary Movement Control Officers for evaluation and risk assessment.
Applications and queries can be submitted to email@example.com.
The department said that visible veterinary patrols and roadblocks will remain in place in the reduced DMA, to control the movement of livestock, and to monitor adherence to the movement protocol.
In January 2022, there was a sudden flare up of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal, which was first reported in May 2021.
A new cluster of infected dip tanks were identified in Hlabisa, between the two clusters previously affected.
The department said the new cluster is still within the reduced DMA in KwaZulu-Natal; however, it remains in communal grazing land, where all epidemiologically linked dip tanks are at a high risk of infection.