The Mozambican government has banned the movement and slaughter of all cloven-hoofed animals and by-products in and out of the Doa district of Tete Province following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD).
So far, the disease has been detected in cattle. In a statement issued on 30 November, the National Veterinary Directorate (DINAV) said the movement of cattle, goats, sheep and pigs for purposes of breeding and slaughter, as well as meat and meat by-products, was banned with immediate effect.
The order also restricts the movement of all forms of livestock fodder in and out of the district, which shares a long and porous border with Malawi to the north. The department has only authorised the supervised movement of sample animals from other districts of Tete Province so that they can be tested for FMD.
The clinical testing of animals is aimed at confining the FMD outbreak to the Doa district. According to DINAV, preliminary investigations indicate that the disease could have been transmitted to Mozambique through cross-border livestock movements in and out of Southern Malawi, which is grappling with clinical FMD infections.
In Malawi, the outbreak was first detected in August in the Lowe Shire Valley, amid indications that the disease had originated from buffaloes in the Lengwe National Park.
Due to the absence of dams and artificial livestock watering systems, Mozambican livestock are routinely forced to trek long distances to find water sources across the border into Malawi.
INSPECTION AND VACCINATION
Apart from ongoing animal tests and a programme of preventive livestock vaccinations, all vehicular and pedestrian traffic entering Mozambique from Malawi, or transiting through the Doa district, are now required to go through anti-FMD foot and wheel pools.
National Director of Veterinary Medicine Américo Manuel da Conceição said the order also mandated veterinary officers across the country to carry out spot inspections on animals transiting between the source and the destination, as well as during the act of unloading.
The emergency measures will only be reviewed when the situation is brought under control. Meanwhile, the veterinary department is carrying out further laboratory tests on sample tissues from affected animals.
FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease that affects cows, goats, sheep, pigs, and most cloven hoofed wild animals. It spreads quickly and often leaves a trail of devastating stock losses in its wake.
Mozambican cattle farmers have suffered severe cattle losses due to recurrent outbreaks of FMD since 2010. Limited human and financial resources capacity has been cited among the factors that contribute to the failure of government-driven livestock disease control programmes.
FMD: A REGIONAL CRISIS
In 2017, the Southern African region has confirmed FMD outbreaks in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia and Botswana. In Zimbabwe, FMD has become a permanent presence with outbreaks that have rendered most of the livestock herds in Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South valueless since 2013.
Due to government inability to buy vaccines, FMD remains out of control in Zimbabwe and was last week confirmed as rampant in the Chipinge South, Mwenezi, Chivi and Chiredzi districts of Masvingo Province.
In Botswana, outbreaks have generally been confined to the Ngamiland in the north. The North-East District on has also been affected amid indications that it was spreads by the cross-border movement of local cattle into Zimbabwe in search of grazing pastures and water sources.
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