Media Release: Suspect Serological Positive: Foot and Mouth Disease Results in the Northern Part of Kwazulu- Natal
28 February 2011, KwaZulu-Natal

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has picked up some suspect positive serological results for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal during routine surveillance in the protection zone for the disease.

Even though no clinical symptoms for the disease have been seen to date, the Department is continuing to conduct intensive investigations. Some reactors were picked up in the free area of the disease.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease which affects livestock with significant economic impact. The disease affects cattle and swine as well as sheep, goats, and other cloven hoofed animals. The disease does not affect human beings.

Over 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.

A team of experts from the Department is on the ground conducting further investigations to verify the results. The control measures will be determined by the findings of this investigation.

The matter has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) last Friday (February 25 2011). As a result of this development we temporarily suspended the official OIE recognized FMD free status of South Africa . Consequently, we have suspended all exports of cloven hoofed animals; inter alia, cattle, goats, sheep and their products with immediate effect, except for products that have been fully processed to inactivate the FMD virus.

The Ingwavuma area, north of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (Isimangaliso), the Mkuze Game Reserve as well as the area east of the Pongola Nature Reserve have been declared an FMD-controlled area by the Director Animal Health, in terms of the Animals Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No. 35 of 1984). No cloven hoofed animals or their products may be moved out of this FMD controlled area.

The Department wishes to reassure the farming community in Northern KZN that there is no need to panic as their livestock is in no immediate danger yet.

Farmers are cautioned to observe Bio-Security measures not to allow any new animals into their herds, and to minimize the movement of their own herds to other farms.

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

For more information, contact:

Selby Bokaba
Spokesperson: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Cell: 082 778 0245
The technical spokesperson on FMD is Dr Botlhe Modisane
Cell: 082 377 0865