Zimbabwe’s FMD could spread to Botswana

Not only is Zimbabwe currently battling a food crisis compounded by a serious drought, there has now been an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the Plumtree district, which could spread to as far as north-eastern Botswana, according to Botswana’s Mmegi Online.

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The online publication said the disease was found in cattle in Kitwe, a communal area in the Plumtree sub-district of the Matabeleland South Province, only 30km from the Botswana-Zimbabwe border.

“Outbreaks of FMD in southern Zimbabwe have a history of spreading into Botswana. In August 2001, an outbreak in the Plumtree sub-district eventually spilled over into Botswana in February 2002, resulting in the Matsiloje outbreak. Similarly, in 2003 and 2006, FMD outbreaks at Matopi and Bobirwa respectively were spill overs from Zimbabwe," said Christian de Graaf, minister for agriculture in Botswana.

The country would intensify border patrols and strengthen border inspection and disinfection points, reported Mmegi Online.

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“It is important that Zimbabwe rapidly prevents this outbreak from further spreading in order to protect our livestock industry. Co-operation and assistance [are] required from everyone in overcoming this national crisis,” said the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe in a statement.