Roadblocks set up to control livestock

2011-03-03 12:42

The KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate is on standby to control the movement of live animals following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

“The provincial SA Police Service and the Road Traffic Inspectorate have been made aware and are on stand-by to be activated urgently as and when the need arises to assist with the setting up of roadblocks to control the movement of live animals” said Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and KwaZulu-Natal agriculture MEC Lydia Johnson in a joint statement today.

The two were in Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal visiting farmers who were affected by foot and mouth disease.

On Monday, Joemat-Pettersson announced that there was a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock – cattle and swine – as well as sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. The disease does not affect human beings.

The agriculture department said some cattle in 23 dip tanks had tested positive for the disease.

“If a test is positive it confirms active infection of the foot and mouth virus even though the specific strain has not been identified. What this means essentially is that we have an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.”

Surveillance had been intensified with a view to determining the furthest point of infection.

“Surveillance will be conducted in areas north of the Umfolosi River. Additional surveillance will be conducted in the South of KwaZulu-Natal and in provinces adjacent to KwaZulu-Natal – Free State, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.”

The department will also be liaising with the neighbouring countries, Swaziland and Mozambique, to ensure control measures.

More than 600 animals have been tested, and 50% of them were found to be positive.

“Government wishes to convey the message that the situation is under control, and that there is no need to panic.

“Farmers are cautioned to observe bio-security measures not to allow any new animals into their herd, and to minimise the movement of their own herd as well as animal products to other farms.”

All suspected cases of the disease in animals must be reported to the local State veterinarian.

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