Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo 'not cleared'

Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo 'not cleared'
Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo 'not cleared'
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The department of agriculture, land reform & rural development and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) task team have disputed fake news spread by a widely distributed message on social media alleging that the disease has been cleared in Limpopo.

Technical spokesperson for the FMD task team Dr Bothle Modisane said an unknown individual went on social media and used "an old statement we had used last year when we announced that FMD was under control".

“We would like to clarify to the public that the outbreak as not been cleared but instead in the past two weeks we have discovered 15 farms that were found with active infection, making It a very big challenge," said Modisane.

Modisane said the active infection has led to further suspension of the auctioning of animals throughout the country to make sure no animals are being moved around to avoid spreading of the outbreak.

“Farmers can only be allowed to do online auctioning and trading; however the department will be making sure that no one is moving any animals."

Spokesperson for the department of agriculture Reggie Ngcobo said: "This message is fake news and this message should not be shared or distributed any further.

“Trace back and forward investigations from farms that were proved to be FMD positive are still ongoing. These identified locations remain under precautionary quarantine until diagnostic testing is completed and the status of these farms has been confirmed as negative for FMD. This phase has not been completed yet.” 

Ngcobo said the prohibition on the gathering of cloven-hoofed animals from two or more properties, as published in the government gazette on December 4 2019 and applicable to the whole country, is still in place.

Ngcobo said this notice does not prohibit the movement of livestock from farm to farm, or private auctions of individual farms.

“The gazetted notice is available on the DAFF website https://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Home/Foot-and-mouth. A review of the situation will only be considered once all the involved properties are tested and the investigation of the outbreak has been completed in order to confidently exclude any further FMD virus circulation,” said Ngcobo.

He said the department still encourages animal owners to apply the following basic measures to prevent their animals from being infected: 

*Not moving high risk animals;

* Only buying animals from a proven source;

*Insisting on a veterinary health declaration to accompany any animals that are brought in.

"Any suspected cases of FMD should please be reported to the nearest state veterinary office or the nearest veterinarian for further investigation. Owners who have bought from known infected properties are also encouraged to report this to the provincial veterinary authority."

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