NAMIBIA TO CONTINUE VACCINATING CATTLE AGAINST FMD

The Namibian Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) will continue vaccinating cattle against foot-and-mouth Disease (FMD) to curb a possible outbreak, says Chief Veterinary Officer Milton Maseke.

he told the media here Wednesday that officials of the Directorate of Veterinary Services were continuing with surveillance activities along the Namibia-Angola border because of the high risk of an FMD incursion through infected animals from the neighbouring country.

The media conference was necessitated by a misunderstanding among the people in Ohangwena Region (Province) about the re-appearance of an FMD outbreak in the region.

Maseke explained that the misunderstanding stemmed from an announcement on local radio by officials of the DVS that community meetings would be held along that border. The meetings would take place from June 8 in areas such as the Omundaungilo and Engela constituencies.

"We still do not have assurance that all cattle in Angola are vaccinated against FMD and the possibility of the movement of cattle from Angola to Namibia is high as the borders are not fenced. We will continue with vaccination to boost the immunity of cattle so that when mixed with the infected animals, they will not be affected," he said.

Of the 2,500-kilometre border between Namibia and Angola, only 80 km is not fenced, which allows the free movement of animals and people.

Maseke assured the public that there are no new cases of FMD reported after the country battled to contain an outbreak in the northern communal areas (NCAs) last year.

The boost of the FMD vaccination campaign has been completed in the Kavango East Region and is expected to commence soon in Ohangwena.

Namibia experienced an FMD outbreak in the northern regions of Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omusati from May last year. The movement of livestock and related products from the quarantined areas was prohibited until the beginning of this year when no more cases were reported.

Cattle were vaccinated and after a six-month observation period, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa announced on Jan 222, this year that Namibia is FMD-free.

Source: Nam News Network