On 1 November 2019, veterinary services were alerted to clinical signs suspicious for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole local municipality of Limpopo. This farm is located in the previously FMD-free zone of South Africa. Samples were collected and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal Disease Programme confirmed an FMD breakout on 1 November 2019.  

The farm has been quarantined

Further identification of the strain is in progress to determine the likely origin of the virus. The affected farm was placed under quarantine. Clinical examination of animals on the farm is being conducted to determine the prevalence of the disease on the affected farm. Measures were implemented to prevent direct or indirect contact between the different groups of animals on the farm. Backward and forward tracing is also in progress to determine the possible origin of the virus, as well as locations to which the disease might have spread.  

FMD is highly contagious 

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. Signs of disease in animals may include depressed animals, sores in animals’ mouth that cause reluctance to eat, and lameness. The disease does not affect human beings and it is safe to consume products of cloven-hoofed animals, such as meat and milk.

Farmers in the entire country are cautioned to observe biosecurity measures, not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms. Any suspected case of the disease in animals must be reported to the local State Veterinarian immediately. – Press release, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries