The provincial department of agriculture believes foot and mouth disease detected in cattle in July in Phalaborwa areas has been contained. Picture: Montsho Matlala
The Limpopo department of agriculture has told The New Age that communal grazing lands in Phalaborwa in the Mopani district were on the verge of being declared free from foot and mouth disease (FMD).
FMD was detected on cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals in the district by the department’s veterinary services on July 17.
The outbreak was confirmed by laboratory tests and identified as the SAT 1 FMD virus. Veterinary services officers then embarked on a massive vaccination campaign and declared the affected areas protected zones.
The department said the second round of vaccinations had been completed.
Spokesperson for the department Selby Makgotho said in an interview: “Animals should be resistant or immune to the disease by now and no further spread is anticipated. We are working towards declaring the areas free of FMD.”
Makgotho said only four areas of Makhuva, Selwane B, Mushiyani and Kheyi communal gazing lands and dipping tank areas were infected.
Close to 20000 cattle were vaccinated since the outbreak was detected, the department added.
“The outbreak occurred within South Africa’s FMD protection zone and therefore has no affect on the country’s exports of meat and other animal products,” the spokesperson for the department said.
Livestock farmers and veterinary services technicians suspected that buffaloes had escaped from the Kruger National Park near Phalaborwa and infected cattle grazing on the nearby pastures.