South Africa experienced a FMD outbreak in the high surveillance area of the FMD free zone in Limpopo on 7 January 2019 and, as a result, lost its World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognised FMD-free zone without vaccination status.
End of the outbreak
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has declared the end of the outbreak, as there have not been any new cases of FMD detected in the declared disease management area since February. In addition, more than three incubation periods have lapsed with no new cases being observed.
Intensive surveillance has demonstrated that the virus is no longer circulating. However, control measures remain in place in the area. The farming community and public are urged to remain vigilant.
Ministerial affirmation visit to the Vhembe district
During April the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, led a high profile delegation to the affected communities in Limpopo to express their heartfelt appreciation to the farmers and all other parties that worked with DAFF to contain the outbreak and resolve the situation.
Containment zone application
DAFF successfully prepared and submitted a dossier to the OIE applying for a containment zone. This application does not form part of the normal OIE processes for zoning and thus will not be considered by a formal sitting of the OIE scientific commission. It will rather be considered through an electronic round robin process. DAFF is hopeful for a positive outcome of its application in the near future.
China lifts ban on wool
The Department has successfully negotiated market access for safe commodities to most of the trading countries. The most recent success was China lifting their ban on wool imports from South Africa. Negotiations are still underway for beef exports to China, and DAFF is in the process of confirming dates for the next inspection visit by the Chinese veterinary authority.
“We should not rest but remain vigilant and continuously seek to improve biosecurity procedures and measures to protect our animals and our people against the spread of disease.” – Media release, DAFF