Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a disease of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats animals which have cloven hooves.
It is caused by a virus. Affected animals take up to 14 days to show signs. Most reported signs are lameness, feet lesions, mouth sores, excessive salivation.
The disease is very contagious, spreading readily from cattle to cattle. Buffaloes spread the infection to cattle.
Foot and mouth disease situation in the country is currently stable with isolated active outbreaks in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces.
The disease is rarely fatal in adult animals, and so there have not been cattle deaths since the beginning of the year.
The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has instituted a plethora of control measures to contain the FMD outbreaks. These include: Foot and mouth vaccinations with over 700 000 cattle vaccinated this year. These vaccinations are carried out routinely in FMD hotspots as well as in response to outbreaks.
Movement restrictions/quarantine of affected areas.
This movement restriction is meant to curb further spread of the disease.
Sadly, some farmers and traders have not been complying with quarantine orders and this has resulted in the spread of the disease from one area to the other.
To ensure compliance with movement restrictions, DVS in partnership with ZRP has mounted roadblocks at strategic points across the country. Those caught moving livestock without a veterinary movement permit risk prosecution and having their animals confiscated and destroyed. This year alone over 80 cattle have been destroyed for moving without valid veterinary animal movement permits.
Because of the resident buffaloes’ population in the country, the disease cannot be eradicated but together, we can contain FMD. The successful control of FMD opens up access to lucrative regional and international markets for our livestock and livestock products, and so significantly improves farmer incomes, reduces poverty, improves livelihoods, promotes rural development and improves our economy.
For the country to prevent occurrence of FMD outbreaks, and when outbreaks occur, to quickly resolve all outbreaks and so enable farmers and traders to do their business, the following are the obligations of the farmers and traders:
1. Always move animals under a veterinary permit, issued by a veterinary officer.
2. Report all lame cattle, and all cattle showing excessive salivation, to the veterinary office.
3. Report all newly introduced cattle in your area to the veterinary office.
4. Strictly observe quarantine orders when they are given by the veterinary office.
5. Do not divert any stock for breeding when it was destined for slaughter. This is the major driver of the FMD outbreaks.
6. When ordered by the veterinary office to herd cattle by day and kraal them by night, strictly comply with the requirements as that helps isolate cattle and so limit the spread of the disease.
l Inserted by The Directorate of Veterinary services telephone+263 24 2707683