Government is discussing the possibility of resuming importation of live cloven-hoofed animals and related products from South Africa pending a full resolution of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in Polokwane this week.
FMD is a viral disease that affects cattle, goats, sheep and pigs.
The disease is transmitted to susceptible animals from wild buffaloes which are a reservoir of the virus in Southern Africa.
Importation of live cloven-hoofed animals and related products from South Africa was suspended in November following notification by the South African Veterinary Authorities of an outbreak of FMD on a farm in Molemole District of Limpopo Province on November 1.
The suspension of imports from South Africa was a precautionary measure designed to prevent the spread of infection into Zimbabwe through the importation of live animals and animal products.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) chief director, Dr Josphat Nyika yesterday said discussions were underway on the possibility of creating a detour or re-routing to avoid animals from passing through the affected Polokwane areas.
“The suspension of live animals and related products from South Africa remains in force pending full resolution of the outbreak in Polokwane.
“South Aftica has promised to give us an update of this disease situation this week and we are currently discussing on resuming animal and animal products imports from the provinces they deem as free of the disease, but under strict conditions,” he said.
Dr Nyika said the animals will also be tested for FMD and other transboundary infections and diseases.
“Whenever an outbreak occurs, a quarantine is imposed until 30 days after the last case,” he said.
FMD is a notifiable disease of economic importance as trade is disrupted when an outbreak occurs.
When there is an outbreak of FMD, farmers should report immediately so that the responsible authorities institute control measures.
FMD is characterised by blisters vesicles in the mouth and inter-digital space.
These will in turn rapture to turn wounds in the mouth and feet respectively hence the name foot and mouth disease.
The presents of sores and in the mouth and feet will cause the affected animals to salivate and limp.
The animals become dull and stop eating with high fever.
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