The latest FMD situation

Serological and clinical surveillance of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal is continuing and the total number of affected locations remain at 29, comprising 27 dip tanks and two feedlots.

Movement control measures remain in place in the reduced Disease Management Area, since the disease is still present within this area, according to the latest follow-up report of the Directorate of Animal Health.

During the course of the outbreak, varied clinical signs have been reported, ranging from classical clinical signs of FMD in these locations, while cattle in some serologically positive locations show no visible signs of infection.

Clinical and serological surveillance at the affected feedlots indicated that there is no active disease spread amongst animals anymore and provisions were being made to allow for slaughtering with specific risk mitigation measures. The absence of active virus circulation in the two dip tank clusters have not yet been confirmed, but inspection and sample collection are ongoing.

The decision was made not to make use of vaccination for this outbreak, since it was evident that the disease was not spreading faster than it could be contained by applying movement control.

Farmers and dip tank associations have been educated on the importance of biosecurity during a disease outbreak and have been urged to apply these practices to avoid further spread of the disease.

The two affected feedlots remain under quarantine. Direct slaughter at designated abattoirs is continuing, with specific provisions made for risk mitigation measures in line with the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code to ensure that the risk of spreading FMD virus is negligible. Meat from affected premises is not eligible for export.