FMD crisis needs cross-border help

Zimbabwe is working closely with South Africa and Botswana to contain a threatening outbreak of the food and mouth disease (FMD).

The department of veterinary services has already described the outbreak as a crisis. The department’s director, Josphat Nyika, has called for joint efforts to contain the disease.

“It is important that Zimbabwe rapidly prevents this outbreak (of FMD) from further spreading in order to protect our livestock industry. Cooperation and assistance is required from everyone in overcoming this national crisis,” he said.

The outbreak has affected most parts of Masvingo, Midlands as well as Matabeleland North and South provinces. Some districts have already been quarantined to ensure that the disease does not spread further.

Cattle sales and dipping sessions have been reported to be one of the main means through which the disease is spreading, with the veterinary department urging the sale of beasts in areas reported to have been affected. An estimated 2.5 million cattle are at risk of contracting the disease and experts say about $20 million is needed to contain it through the procurement of vaccines and other interventions.

The current outbreak was first reported on April 27 in Masvingo’s Mwenezi district – a non-vaccination area. The South African department of agriculture last week expressed concern, with spokesperson Manekosi Maroo reporting that a meeting had been held between senior veterinary experts from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Bostwana to prevent the spread of the disease into neighbouring countries.

Over 450,000 doses of vaccine have been procured. A total of 120 000 animals in the southern border area are expected to be vaccinated at least twice by end of September.

Post published in: News

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