FMD outbreak yet to be confirmed in North West

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A farm in Ramatlabama village is being investigated for a possible outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among its cattle. The veterinary services of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in North West have taken samples from the animals and are awaiting the results. The suspicion is based on positive antibody serology tests but must be confirmed by veterinary services.

The director of veterinary services at the department, Dr Langa Madyibi, said that they have quarantined a commercial farm in Ramatlabama village and its neighbouring farms. The farm borders Botswana in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality. The department has collected samples from the animals and is conducting further investigations. He said that they are also servicing six farms in the area, including the suspected one, but this number may change depending on the results.

The department detected the possibility of an FMD outbreak during routine FMD sampling in areas near the border and other high-risk zones in the provinces. The sampling did not show any clinical signs of the disease and the department believes that the farm in question did not move any animals to other properties recently. The suspected outbreak affected 22 animals on the farm.

Read more about the FMD vaccine.

FMD cases in the rest of North West

He says the case in Ramatlabama is currently the only case in the province that is being investigated. The department is making good strides and is resolving previous cases of outbreaks in the Potchefstroom area. He adds that it is important to note that the process of resolving these cases is time consuming, but most of the farms in this area that were affected are slowly being cleared of FMD. The protocol requires ongoing testing to confirm the absence of any virus transmission. The department has followed this procedure for 18 months and will only close the cases when they are fully satisfied that there is no risk of further infection.

Biosecurity measures

Dr Madyibi appealed to producers in the province to observe biosecurity measures and not to allow any new animals into their herds. The movement of animals to other farms also needs to be minimised. FMD is a serious and highly infectious viral disease that affects livestock and has a significant economic impact. Any livestock that may have FMD should be reported to the local state veterinarian as soon as possible. – Christal-Lize Muller, Plaas Media

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