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Foot-and-mouth disease confirmed in Frankfort

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The Free State reported a new foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak on 21 February 2024. It is still being epidemiologically investigated to determine the origin and possible spread of the virus.

According to the latest FMD outbreak report, compiled by the directorate of Animal Health of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the outbreak is currently limited to one commercial farm situated in the Frankfort area in the Free State.

Cattle exhibited mouth lesions consistent with FMD during the health declaration inspection by a private veterinarian. Samples were collected and dispatched to the Transboundary Animal Diseases unit at the Agricultural Research Council’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Campus for analysis. The serological tests yielded positive results for both specific and non-specific Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) proteins.  The Southern African Territories serotype results are still pending. 

Read more about the recent outbreak in the North West here.

Precautions

The farm has been placed under quarantine and no movement of animals is allowed onto or off the farm. Animal inspection is continuing at the farm, together with sample collection for further investigation.  

The neighbouring farms within the radii of 3km, 5km and 10 km radius have been placed under precautionary quarantine. Adjacent farms with cloven-hoofed livestock will be subjected to clinical inspection and laboratory testing. The majority of the farms located adjacent to the index farm are used for cultivation and precautionary quarantine on these properties will be lifted as soon as the absence of cloven-hoofed livestock has been confirmed. 

The source of the outbreak has not yet been confirmed, but the epidemiological investigation is ongoing. Epidemiologically linked locations and linked auctions are being followed up to gain information of the origin and destination of animals. – Izak Hofmeyr, Plaas Media


Strategy to regain South Africa’s FMD-free status

South Africa still has a long way to go before it can regain its foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free status, after the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) revoked the country’s disease-free status in 2019.

Several countries banned the importation of livestock products from South Africa shortly thereafter, resulting in a sizable loss of income for the local livestock industry. 

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