Kavango-West farmers fear FMD outbreak after spotting buffalo am

27 Feb 2015 14:50pm
MUKEKETE, 27 FEB (NAMPA) - Residents of the Mukekete village in the Kavango-West Region are fearing an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) after a buffalo was spotted among their cattle in the area last Friday.
It is suspected that the buffalo came from neighbouring Angola by crossing into Namibia through the Okavango River. It could be a carrier of FMD.
The residents are worried that their livestock might be infected, which could spread to other cattle in and around the surrounding areas, something which could affect the marketing of their cattle.
Immediately after spotting the buffalo, the Mukekete residents reported the incident to the Environment and Tourism Ministry officials who dispatched a team to the area on Monday. Officials spotted tracks of the buffalo but it is not clear whether the animal had gone back to where it came from.
The Environment and Tourism Ministry official who was sent to hunt down the animal, told Nampa on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to the media that they intended to put down the animal with the aim of testing its blood to establish whether it had FMD for appropriate action to be taken.
Approached for comment, Rundu State Veterinarian Dr Thompson Shuro told this agency on Friday that the incident was not yet reported to his office but promised to dispatch his animal technicians to the area to conduct an investigation and establish whether there is any possible infection.
In July 2008, an FMD outbreak was detected at the Kamutjonga village, situated some 225 kilometres east of Rundu in the Mukwe Constituency.
That outbreak was suspected to have been transmitted by buffaloes from the nearby Mahango Game Park.
Meanwhile, the second round of the FMD vaccination campaign in the Kavango East Region’s Mukwe and Ndiyona constituencies is currently underway.