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Vaccination campaign underway in KZN

There is an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease in Kwazulu-Natal. The Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has identified the new hotspot in KwaHlabisa.

Vaccination campaign for animals in KZN

In January 2022, there was a sudden flare-up of hand, foot and mouth disease in KwaZulu-Natal, first reported in May 2021.

As a result, the ministry said it will undertake an animal vaccination campaign that will take place in the Disease Management Area (FMD).

“This situation justifies the use of vaccination to reduce the viral load and thus control the further spread of the disease,” the department said.

In an effort to contain the spread of the disease, the department said vaccination will be limited to cattle within the Disease Management Area (DMA) to slow the spread beyond the immediate areas and in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve.

Outbreak can spread

They said the outbreak is showing active signs of spreading to the newly submerged tanks that lie close to the border of the DMA and the game reserve.

“A risk-based approach will be taken to ensure that the areas of highest risk are vaccinated first.

“It is estimated that 40,000 animals will be vaccinated during the first vaccination campaign, which starts this month,” the statement said.

At this stage, the department said it will not vaccinate all animals within the DMA, but they will use vaccination as a necessary means of containing the spread of the disease.

Support KZN farmers

The department is actively working with a panel of executive agents who have the expertise to perform certain identified functions aimed at supporting farmers within the DMA who have been affected by the foot and mouth disease control measures and movement controls over the past eight months.

Municipalities affected by this decision will be called in by the KZN Veterinary Service in the coming weeks, prior to the vaccination.

“Market access support to these communities will be provided as and when appropriate,” the department said.

It also reiterated a call on all stakeholders to continue to comply with the movement restrictions still in place, stating that the restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

Hand, foot and mouse disease movement protocol

The movement protocol of cloven-hoofed animals and their products in, out and through the reduced DMA is still only allowed under the authority of a permit issued by the veterinary services of the area.

The relocation protocol can be requested from KZN Veterinary Services, the department

Livestock farmers are encouraged to submit all requests for relocation to the Provincial Vet Movement Control Officers for evaluation and risk assessment at [email protected]

However, the department said veterinary patrols and roadblocks will remain in place to monitor the movement of livestock and verify compliance with movement protocols.

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