Rift Valley fever infects herd
There has been an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in the Nkomazi area of Mpumalanga
Yesterday the provincial department of agriculture said a herd of buffalo had been infected.
Officials said field workers were still investigating the origin of the outbreak.
"The outbreak remains localised and under strict monitoring and control," said department spokesman Tsotso Sehoole.
Rift Valley fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and livestock owners are urged to apply mosquito repellants to prevent their livestock from being bitten.
"The last case of Rift Valley fever in South Africa was in 1999," said Sehoole.
"The disease has caused many deaths among livestock in the Rift Valley in Kenya and also in Tanzania in the recent past," she said.
Sehoole said there was no need for the public to panic since transmission to humans usually only happened when they had handled sick or dead animals or aborted foetuses.
"We urge the public not to handle and cut up any sick or dead animals or aborted foetuses, and to contact their nearest veterinarian if a high number of abortions is observed in a herd.
"Anyone handling the carcasses should wear protective clothes and goggles," Sehoole said.
Her department, together with the health department, were monitoring the situation. Even the slightest suspicion of the fever should be reported to the nearest state vet's office for livestock.
Any person who has flu-like symptoms after handling a dead carcass or foetus should contact the district surgeon.