An application to the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) technical committee for declaration of a disease containment zone will be submitted before the end of April. This comes after South Africa lost its foot-and-mouth disease-free zone without vaccination status due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the high surveillance area of the FMD-free zone in Limpopo.

There have been no new cases of FMD detected, while more than 13 000 animals in the previously FMD-free zone would have been vaccinated twice by the end of March. Movement control regulations are still in place and no animals may move out of, into or inside the disease management area without the approval of the state vet.

Limpopo FMD outbreak Management Zone

Safe commodities

The continuation of trade in safe commodities has been prioritised. Safe commodities include any product that has been processed in such a way that the FMD virus, should it be present, would have been destroyed.

The department considers the following products to be safe commodities, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Raw salted hides and skins;
  • Wet blue and crust hides;
  • Scoured wool;
  • Collagen and gelatine;
  • The meat of cloven-hoofed animals that were slaughtered on or before 5 December 2018;
  • Deboned, deglanded, matured beef;
  • Pork from approved FMD-free pig units;
  • Processed dairy and dairy products.

While the application to reinstate the declaration of the disease containment zone is still to be submitted, DAFF has successfully negotiated the revision of veterinary health certificates for beef exports to:

  • Bahrain
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Egypt
  • Qatar
  • Jordan
  • Swaziland
  • Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates

Trade in pork from FMD-free pig units has been re-opened to:

  • Lesotho
  • Seychelles
  • Mozambique
  • Swaziland
  • Namibia (partial)

Negotiations that are still underway include Namibia for beef and Botswana for pork. The markets for dairy products have largely been restored. Some markets for the export of hides, skins and wool remain affected and negotiations are taking place in particular pertaining to products have been processed to ensure the destruction of the FMD virus.

Trade with China

DAFF’s director-general, Mike Mlengane, and the chief director of animal production and health made the trip to China to present reports on the FMD outbreak status and planned action to regain the previous FMD-free zone without vaccination status. Their Chinese counterparts asked for the opportunity to evaluate the information presented and to conduct a risk analysis on trade in safe commodities.

The situation as described above shows that the disease control strategy is showing positive results. Though the outbreak is under control it is not necessarily resolved and there may be a need for the implementation of further measures. It is vital that all parties that have been instrumental in the successful containment of FMD thus far remain committed and work together. – Press release