Foot-and-Mouth Disease Breaks Out in Northern Regions

THE ministry of agriculture, water and forestry has reported an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions.

In a press release last week, the acting permanent secretary of the ministry, Abraham Nehemia, said this disease was detected on 11 May at Ondama yOmunghete crush pen and on 12 May at Okalupalona and Onehanga crush pens in the Okongo constituency of the Ohangwena region.

The second outbreak was detected on 13 May at Okakango village in the Onkankolo constituency of the Oshikoto region.

According to Nehemia, the presence of the disease, that can also spread to other central northern regions, was confirmed by the central veterinary laboratory in Windhoek on 12 May.

He said the directorate of veterinary services, has subdivided the Northern Communal Areas into infected, containment and surveillance areas.

The surveillance areas will be subjected to intensive livestock inspections to detect the disease.

Nehemia said the ministry has aised the farmers not to move cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and other animals from these areas. He also said meat, manure, hides and skins, horns, bones, trophies and other potentially infectious materials such as thatch grass, hay and crop residue should also not be moved from, into and within the infected and containment areas to any part of the country.

Nehemia said movement outside the containment areas must be authorised by the directorate of veterinary services which will issue movement permits.

He added that roadblocks will be set up at strategic points to stop unauthorised movements of animals and animal products and for the disinfection of vehicles and shoes. Nehemia said all animal movements across the Namibian-Angolan border are suspended with immediate effect. He said movements of animals from south of the veterinary cordon fence to the northern communal area are suspended and all movement permits that had been issued are cancelled until further notice.

The directorate had deployed surveillance teams to investigate the extent of the disease outbreak and to determine the source. Farmers and members of the public are requested to report any animal showing signs consistent with foot-and-mouth disease to their nearest veterinary office or police.

The signs include salivation the animal not eating limping reluctance to move fever blisters and ulcers on the tongue, gum and on the hooves. A vaccination programme has been launched and farmers are requested to bring their cattle to the nearest crush pen when asked to do so.

Meanwhile, John Shoopala, the deputy chief veterinary officer, held a meeting with farmers at Eenhana in Ohangwena region last week where he told farmers of the outbreak and what measures had been put in place.

According to Shoopala, two buffaloes were sighted in the Ongenga and Okongo constituencies at the end of last year and both were killed.

“This disease could have been spread by the two buffaloes,” Shoopala said adding that they might have come from southern Angola.

Shoopala said the directorate had already met its Angolan counterparts to discuss the matter.

The outbreak is also linked to the closure of the Meatco abattoir at Oshakati in Oshana region.

Source : The Namibian