NAMIBIA SUSPENDS LIVESTOCK IMPORTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA OVER OUTBREAK OF RIFT VALLEY FEVER

WINDHOEK-- Namibia's Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has announced that imports of livestock from South Africa's Free State Province have been suspended because of an outbreak of Rift Valley fever there.

A statement issued by the Ministry's Chief Veterinary Officer, Milton Maseke, on Monday said the importation and movement-in-transit of cattle, sheep, goats and wild ruminants from Free State had been suspended since April 14, 2018.

Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-transmitted viral disease which affects livestock and can also cause illness in human beings. Maseke said all previously issued import and in-transit permits have been cancelled and recalled with immediate effect.

He added that the incubation period of the disease was 14 days as set by the World Organization for Animal Health.

Major outbreaks of the disease are usually associated with heavy rainfall and localised flooding. The symptoms in affected animals include non-movement or feeding as well as abdominal pain, while young animals may die within 36 hours of the onset of the symptoms. Some animals also vomit and may have bloody diarrhoea and blood-stained mucopurulent nasal discharge.

"Signs of the disease in humans include sudden onset flu-like fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and haemorrhagic fever," Maseke said.

Transmission to humans can occur through direct or indirect contact with infected blood or organs of animals; from bites of infected mosquitoes; or ingestion of unpasteurised or uncooked milk of infected animals.

People working in animal slaughtering facilities, laboratories and hospitals are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease, the statement said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK