Agriculture Ministry confirms second FMD outbreak

16 May 2015 11:40am
ONGWEDIVA, 16 MAY (NAMPA) – A second outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was detected at the Okakango village in the Okankolo Constituency of the Oshikoto Region on Wednesday.
The office of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) issued a media statement on Friday confirming the outbreak.
The first FMD outbreak was discovered at the Ondama Yomunghete crush pen in the Okongo Constituency of the Ohangwena Region on Monday, and on Tuesday at the Okalupalona and Onehanga crush pens in the same region.
Deputy Director of Animal Disease Control in the MAWF, Dr John Shoopala and other veterinary officials held an emergency meeting at Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region on Wednesday during which the outbreak was confirmed.
In response to the outbreak, the Directorate of Veterinary Services is to implement and enforce disease control measures in accordance with the Animal Health Act No. 1 of 2011.
“For the purpose of controlling this outbreak, the Directorate of Veterinary Services has subdivided the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) into infected, containment and surveillance areas,” read the MAWF media statement.
It stated that the infected area currently consists of the Okongo and Okankolo constituencies, but this may change when more surveillance data becomes available.
The containment area stretches from the Oshivelo Gate to the Oshikango Border Post on the B1 road, then from the Oshivelo Gate to the Bravo Gate, then from the Bravo Gate via Mpungu Vlei to the Katwitwi Border Post and the Namibia-Angola border to the north.
This area is enclosed and is to be subjected to intensive livestock inspections to rule out the presence of the disease.
“All the necessary measures to contain this outbreak are being mobilised,” the ministry stated.
The regions of Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Kavango East, Kavango West and Kunene North comprise the surveillance area of the FMD protection zone.
FMD is spread by movement of infected animals and animal products including contaminated vehicles, clothes, shoes and other objects.
Farmers and the public are therefore advised not to move cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and wild animals’ meat, milk, hides, manure, horns, bones and trophies from, into and within the infected and containment areas, as these are potentially infectious materials.
Thatch grass, hay, straw and crop residue are other potential infectious materials, which the ministry has decided not to be moved from, into and within the enclosed area.
Movement outside the containment areas, the ministry said, must be authorised by the Directorate of Veterinary Services, which will issue Red Cross movement permits for the rest of the NCAs west of the fence at Shamagorwa in the Kavango East Region.
This is the boundary between the Ndiyona and Mukwe constituencies up to the northern part of the Kunene Region.
Road blocks will also be set up at strategic points to restrict the movement of unauthorised animals, animal products and facilitate the disinfection of vehicles and shoes.
All movement of animals across the Namibia-Angola border have been suspended with immediate effect, and any animal found to have been illegally imported into Namibia will be confiscated and may be destroyed in accordance with the Animal Health Act.
Movement of animals from south of the veterinary cordon fence into the NCA is also suspended and all issued movement permits are cancelled until further notice.
The Veterinary Services Directorate has deployed surveillance teams to investigate the extent of the outbreak and to determine the source of the infection.
“Farmers and the general public are requested to report any animal showing clinical signs consistent with FMD to their nearest veterinary office or Namibian Police,” read the statement.
The FMD clinical signs include salivation, not eating, limping, reluctance to move, fever, blisters and ulcers on the tongue, gum and feet.
Furthermore, the vaccination of cattle in response to the FMD outbreak will be announced and farmers are requested to bring all cattle to the nearest crush pens.