Ohangwena suffers another animal disease outbreak

14 May 2015 11:40am
EENHANA, 14 MAY (NAMPA) – There is an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the Ohangwena Region.
The Deputy Director of Animal Disease Control in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Dr John Shoopala confirmed the FMD outbreak at Eenhana on Wednesday, during a meeting with farmers who are mainly grazing their cattle in southern Angola.
Shoopala said the most severely affected area is the Okongo Constituency.
“For now we did not establish the source, but the fact of the matter remains that there is an outbreak,” Shoopala stated, adding that veterinary officials are currently trying to determinine the root cause of the outbreak through investigations.
He said the investigation to find the cause of the outbreak is not limited to the Ohangwena Region, and has been extended to the other regions as well.
Symptoms of the presence of FMD in animals include wounds on the hoofs and tongues.
The Ohangwena Region also experienced an outbreak of Bovine Besnoitiosis (elephant skin disease) which was detected in the Oshikango, Ondobe and Okongo constituencies towards the end of April this year.
The three constituencies share borders with Angola, and the affected animals reportedly belong to Namibian farmers who were grazing their cattle around several Angolan villages such as Okalonga, Opalela, Ohashikolo, Omamwandi and Olupale.
Shoopala, however, could not confirm that Angola was the source of the diseases affecting the livestock.
“Elephant disease in the Ohangwena Region had been successfully eradicated in 1986, and these incidences represent a re-emergence of the disease,” read a MAWF media statement issued on 27 April this year. The statement was signed by the MAWF’s acting Permanent Secretary Abraham Nehemia.
Shoopala said the elephant skin disease is now under control, and its cases have become minimal in the affected areas.
To prevent further spread of the two diseases, Shoopala said control measures have been implemented, such as the prevention of animals from being moved in or out of the Ohangwena Region without the approval of the Directorate of Veterinary Services. Traditional cattle shows have been suspended and there is a vaccination campaign underway against lung sickness.
The MAWF said it is also planning to vaccinate all livestock in the area against FMD and elephant skin disease once the vaccine, which is currently not available, has been acquired.
Severely affected animals will be put down and the ministry will compensate the owners. FMD was last experienced in the Ohangwena Region between 1962 and 1967.