September 19, 2023

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announces animal vaccination campaign

Vaccination to control foot-and-mouth outbreak in Kwazulu-Natal

The Department of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development would like to announce the animal vaccination campaign that will take place in the Disease Management Area (DMA), following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the new hotspot KwaHlabisa, KwaZulu-Natal.

The outbreak is showing signs of active spread and some of the newly affected diptanks are near the boundary of the DMA and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. This situation justifies the use of vaccination to reduce the viral load and thus control the spread of the disease.

At this stage, vaccination will be limited to cattle within the DMA, in order to slow the spread of the disease, as well as to prevent spread outside the DMA and into the game reserve. Nor is the intention to vaccinate all animals within the DMA, but only if necessary, to contain the spread of the disease. A risk-based approach will be followed, to ensure that areas most at risk are vaccinated first. It is estimated that 40,000 animals will be vaccinated during the first vaccination campaign, which will begin this month.

The communities affected by this decision will be engaged by the KZN Veterinary Services in the coming weeks, prior to vaccination. Market access support for these communities will be provided as needed.

The department actively engages with a panel of implementers who have the expertise, to undertake certain identified functions aimed at supporting farmers within the DMA who have been affected by FMD control measures and movement checks over the past 8 months.

The movement protocol and permit system for the movement of cloven-hoofed animals remains in place in the reduced DMA. A renewed appeal is made to all stakeholders to continue to respect the restrictions on movement which are still in place, as these restrictions are necessary to prevent the escape of the virus from the affected areas and therefore shorten the duration of the epidemic.

The movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products to, from, through or within the reduced DMA is still only permitted with the authorization of a permit issued by the veterinary services of the zone. The movement protocol can be obtained from KZN Veterinary Services. Livestock owners are encouraged to submit all movement requests to Provincial Veterinary Movement Control Officers for assessment and risk assessment. Applications and queries can be submitted to [email protected](link sends e-mail). Visible veterinary patrols and roadblocks will remain in place in the reduced DMA, to control livestock movement and monitor compliance with movement protocol.

In January 2022, there was a sudden outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal, which was first reported in May 2021. A new cluster of infected diptanks was identified in Hlabisa, between the two previously affected groups. This new group is still found in the reduced DMA of KwaZulu-Natal, however, it remains in communal pastures, where all epidemiologically linked diptanks are at high risk of infection.