A suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at Linyanti, in Linyanti Constituency of Zambezi Region has been detected and temporary measures to contain the situation have been adopted, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has said.

In a press release the ministry said that there has been a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Zambezi Region which was discovered after an investigation was conducted on 1 December 2014. Linyanti is located about 80 km south west of Katima Mulilo and the suspected animals affected are resident on an island which is between the Sapisi and Linyanti Rivers. In the initial investigation, 9 cattle from three kraals with a total herd of 470, had oral and foot lesions suggestive of FMD. Further investigations are still underway.

In terms of the Animal Health Act no. 1 of 2011 and the Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan, government has adopted a number of measures. “A temporary but complete ban of all susceptible livestock movements within and into Zambezi Region has been imposed with immediate effect. Movement of livestock out of Zambezi Region is not allowed,” Agriculture, Water and Forestry ministry permanent secretary Joseph Iita said. He said that the movement of cloven-hoofed animals, like cattle, sheep, goats and pigs or their products, other potentially infectious commodities including hides, skins, game trophies, grass and plant material will remain restricted until further notice.

A containment area has been established with a radius of 40 km around Linyanti. In the mean-time a moratorium on the movements of meat from Katima Mulilo abattoir has been imposed until further notice. “A number of roadblocks are being set up at strategic points to ensure compliance with movement restrictions and members of the public are urged to fully cooperate with the officials. Patrol teams have been deployed in the area to ensure that no animals leave the island to surrounding areas,” said Iita. Surveillance and outbreak investigation teams have been deployed in the affected area to establish the source and extent of the outbreak and farmers are requested to present their livestock for inspection. He said that the stakeholders and the communities in the affected area will be updated on developments through the local radio station, community visits and meetings. Regular meetings of the Regional FMD emergency Committee will be conducted.

“These restrictions are temporary in nature and are designed to allow the Directorate of Veterinary Services to establish the full extent of the outbreak. There will be a gradual lifting of these restrictions in the shortest possible period,” he said. There are no restrictions in the FMD free zone which is south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence as well as other areas which comprise the protection zone in particular, Kavango East, Kavango West, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati and Kunene North that are north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence.