Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has broken out in a key cattle rearing area of South Africa – Limpopo province, in the country’s north-east.
Reports from South Africa’s department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries’ animal production and health branch, have blamed contact with wild animals for the outbreak. It occurred in two communities – Ba-Phalaborwa, and Greater Giyani – that border the Kruger National Park and other private wildlife reserves.
The branch’s chief director Dr Bothle Michael Modisane, said that six cases have left 1,841 head of cattle susceptible to the disease.
Veterinary authorities have imposed cattle movement controls and screening and, while they plan no treatment and have yet to vaccinate animals, the ministry is planning “vaccination in response to the outbreak,” said a note from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE).
It added that the outbreaks occurred within South Africa’s FMD protection zone, where state veterinary services undertake FMD vaccinations.The disease was confirmed by the the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVI) in Pretoria, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
The Limpopo beef industry has been developing a hybrid breed combining Angus beef cattle with local Nguni Cows, based on research undertaken at the University of Limpopo’s experimental farm.