January sees several new WOAH-reportable disease outbreaks

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The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has reported new foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks as well as a new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH or OIE) in January.

The last FMD outbreaks were reported on 31 January, with two new cases reported Dr Mpho Maja, director of animal health confirmed in DALRRD’s FMD outbreak and surveillance update report. One case was reported in KwaZulu-Natal and the other in North West. “South Africa currently has three FMD outbreak events which are comprised of 185 open FMD outbreaks,” Maja reported, adding that there are two viruses – South African Type (SAT) 2 and SAT 3 – responsible for the current FMD outbreaks.

“The outbreak was identified in a game reserve in the Jozini local municipality (KwaZulu-Natal),” Maja said. “To curb the situation, vaccination campaigns are running continuously and over 300 000 cattle have been vaccinated thus far (in the outbreak area).”

The other outbreak occurred in the JB Marks local municipality (North West), in an area that was already under quarantine due to the proximity to other positive premises. “The new outbreak was most likely not due to recent spread but was identified as part of continuous surveillance of adjacent premises.” In this area 172 373 cattle have been vaccinated thus far and 79 793 cattle were sent to designated abattoirs for controlled slaughter.

New ASF outbreak

On Friday DALRRD also confirmed a new outbreak of ASF on a Gauteng farm. Farms in Gauteng, North West and the Free State were placed under precautionary quarantine as a result of this. “The ASF negative status of these farms will be confirmed before precautionary quarantine can be lifted,” departmental spokesperson, Reggie Ngcobo, said in a press release. “The source of the infection on the positive farm has not yet been identified, but it is believed that the infection was already on the farm from mid-December.”

Read more about biosecurity for pig production.

Ngcobo urges farmers and pig keepers to only buy pigs directly from known healthy herds and to prevent contact between their pigs and other pigs or wildlife.

“This outbreak of ASF on a farm with good biosecurity measures in place again illustrates that the virus is highly contagious,” Ngobo says. “All pig farmers and pig keepers are again urged to only buy pigs directly from known healthy herds and to prevent contact between their pigs and other pigs or wildlife.”

DALRRD says visitors should be discouraged from coming into the area where pigs are being kept. Anyone who has contact with pigs should wash their hands before and after handling the pigs; and before moving to other farms, one should ensure that they have thoroughly showered and to only use clean clothes, shoes, and equipment.

FMD control measures

DALRRD reaffirmed that the control measures on movement of cattle, sheep, and goats in the two disease management areas (DMAs) in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal remains in place. “If farmers want to move animals into, through or within these two DMAs, their local state veterinary office must be contacted to find out whether the intended movements are allowed,” Maja added.

In all other parts of the country, livestock owners must provide a declaration of health and origin and must obtain the necessary Stock Theft documents for all cattle, sheep, and goats to be moved from their property of origin onto new properties. The animals must be isolated for 28 days before being introduced into the main herds of the destination farm. – Susan Marais, AgriOrbit

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