The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has been informed of positive laboratory results for Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) in cattle in the Vhembe District of Limpopo. Samples were collected during a disease investigation undertaken after reports of lameness in cattle. The positive result came from a location just outside the FMD Control Zone, in the Free Zone without vaccination.

A team of experts from the department and from the Limpopo Veterinary Services is on the ground conducting further investigations to verify the results and to determine the extent of the outbreak. Control measures will be determined by the findings of this investigation.

The matter was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Monday, 7 Jan, 2019). This development has led to the temporary suspension of the official OIE recognised FMD-free status of South Africa.

Exports where FMD-free zone attestation is required, cannot now be certified.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock. It has has significant, negative economic impact. The disease affects cattle, pigs (domestic and wild), sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. The disease does not affect human beings. Signs of the disease may include lameness, depression and mouth lesions which cause a reluctance by the animal to take in feed. Suspected cases of FMD must be reported to the local State Veterinarian immediately.

The affected area is under quarantine and no movement of animals and/or animal products is allowed. Farmers further away from the outbreak are cautioned to observe bio-security measures; not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimise the movement of their own herds to other farms. – Press release