Disease vaccinations start

2011-03-29 00:00

AN estimated 100 veterinarians and technicians from all over the country have been deployed in KwaZulu-Natal to help with the vaccination of animals against the foot and mouth disease, said Dr Sizwe Mkhize, head of the provincial Department of Agriculture Environmental Affairs and Rural Development.

Two weeks ago Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that foot and mouth had been declared east of the R66 road and north of the Mfolozi River in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhize said the veterinarians and technicians will be broken up into groups and spread across the area that has been found to be infected.

He said the operation is expected to last for several days as the vaccine, which they have imported from Botswana, needs to be injected several times to take effect on animals.

“We imported the vaccine from Botswana because it is not something we have in large supply in the country and this kind of vaccine needs to be injected more than once to make sure that it takes effect.”

Dr Mkhize said the department is still however struggling to identify the FMD strain but believes that the vaccination would work regardless. “We are still struggling with identifying the strain, but the vaccine will work on the animals regardless.”

He said to ensure that the department keeps the disease from spreading, they have instituted 14 road blocks around that area.

He said they have not encountered any problems with people trying to move the animals through back routes as they have thoroughly explained the problem to farmers and other animal owners.

These steps by the department come on the heels of complaints by the Transvaal Agricultural Union, saying the department was not handling the situation with sufficient vigour.

Dr Mkhize said iSimangaliso Wetland Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis has stated that the 1 000 buffalo in the park have tested negative for the disease.

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