Foot-and-Mouth Disease Spreads to Omusati

THE foot-and-mouth disease that broke out in some of the northern regions recently has spread to Omusati and there are fears that it might have reached Kunene after signs of the disease were detected at Otjorute village, between Kunene and Omusati last week.

The deputy chief veterinary officer of animal disease control in the directorate of veterinary services, John Shoopala, told The Namibian yesterday that reports over the long weekend show that signs of foot-and-mouth disease were detected among some cattle at Otjorute village in the Ruacana constituency of Omusati region.

Shoopala said the department had sent a team to investigate and take samples for laboratory testing and confirmation.

The Ruacana constituency councillor, Abasti Iipinge, also confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that Shoopala told him about the possibility of the disease reaching Otjorute constituency.

“This is really terrible, because we are already faced by a severe drought and now this disease. We do not know what to do,” councillor Iipinge said.

This disease was detected on 13 May at Okakango village in the Okankolo constituency of the Oshikoto region and Shoopala said it had also spread to the neighbouring Onyaanya constituency.

“There are fears that it will spread to other constituencies and regions in the North,” Shoopala, who urged farmers to report any signs of the disease to the veterinary services, told The Namibian.

Both Shoopala and his counterpart Kenneth Shoombe, held a consultative meeting with members of the Mangetti Farmers Association at OlunoOndangwa in Oshana region on Saturday, where they reported the outbreak to farmers and told them to pass on the message to other farmers in Oshikoto region as well as in Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati and Kunene.

They told the farmers further that an immunisation campaign for the control of foot-and-mouth disease has already started in Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions. Roadblocks have been set up on all roads north of the B1 road from Oshikango to Oshivelo.

FMD can spread by movement of infected animals and animal products. Contaminated vehicles, clothes, shoes and other objects can also spread the disease. That is why roadblocks have been set up at strategic points to restrict the movement of unauthorised animals and animal products.

All animals found to have been imported illegally into Namibia will be confiscated while movements of animals from south of the veterinary cordon fence to the northern communal area has also been suspended and all issued movement permits are cancelled until further notice.

Source : The Namibian