New foot-and-mouth disease case confirmed in Limpopo

The South African red meat industry will come under renewed pressure following the confirmation of a case of foot-and-mouth disease in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole district of Limpopo.
Photo: FW Archive

A case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been confirmed in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole district of Limpopo.

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The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said that on 1 November, state veterinary services had been alerted to cattle showing clinical signs of FMD on the farm, which was located in the former FMD-free zone.

Samples were collected, and FMD was confirmed by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal Disease Programme.

“Further identification of the strain is in process to determine the likely origin of the virus. The affected farm has been placed under quarantine. Clinical examination of animals on the farm is being conducted to determine the prevalence of the disease,” the department said in a statement.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Know the signs of FMD 

According to the department, measures have been implemented to prevent direct or indirect contact between different groups of animals on the farm.

“Backward and forward tracing is in process to determine possible origin of the virus, as well as locations to which the disease might have spread,” the statement said.

The new FMD case comes just as South Africa was starting to normalise international trade following an FMD outbreak early this year.

This outbreak had resulted in many of South Africa’s trading partners banning the imports of products from cloven-hoofed animals, including meat, hides and wool.

Consignments that had already been shipped were recalled. This ban had placed massive pressure on domestic markets, with red meat role players estimating that the outbreak cost the industry around R10 billion.

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Johan van der Colff, chairperson of the Northern Cape Red Meat Producers’ Organisation, said during his address to the provincial congress in June that the impact of the ban had been felt along the entire red meat value chain.

While South Africa had not yet regained its FMD-free status from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), officials had been able to successfully negotiate trade agreements with individual countries, which had resulted in the resumption of exports, including that of wool to China.

The department has urged farmers across the country to observe biosecurity measures, not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimise the movement of their herds to other farms.

Animals suspected of having FMD needed to be immediately reported to the state veterinarian.