Foot and mouth disease outbreaks in cattle in several SADC countries

Outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD), threatening meat supply and the meat export status of affected countries, have recently been reported in Namibia, Malawi and South Africa.

The first recent incidence was recorded in cattle in the Zambezi region of Namibia, where 9 cases were observed in July.

Until now, five outbreaks have been reported in the Zambezi region with a total of 40 cases reported and 3 500 animals susceptible to the disease. According to the latest world Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) report, the origin of the outbreaks is contact with wild animals.

Containment measurements include movement control, vaccination, quarantine and other precautionary steps.


In Malawi, FMD seems to threaten the meat supply of the country after the disease was recorded there in August.
According to the Nyasa Times, a ban on the movement of cattle from the southern Lower Shore Valley could reduce meat supply in the country by almost 20%.

The government temporarily closed all livestock markets in the affected area, and restricted the movement of and slaughtering of livestock in affected areas.

The region is the main supplier of local beef and dairy in the country.

According to the OIE report, 26 cases are being tested, with 30 000 animals susceptible. The cause of infection is still uncertain. There is a strong suspicion that it originated from buffalo in Lengwe National Park, which occasionally mix with cattle in the area.

South Africa

So far, three cases of the disease have been recorded in cattle in the Limpopo province in a FMD vaccination-free zone at the Giyani Local Municipality. All of the affected cattle shared a common water source.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the diptanks where the cattle were tested are in the FMD protection zone, without FMD vaccination. The area falls outside of the South African Free-FMD zone and the outbreaks will not affect the FMD-free status of the country. The export of all cloven hooved animals and their products is still allowed.

Mozambique has however banned meat imports from South Africa.

share this