Update on FMD in South Africa

26 Apr 2019

On 17 April 2019, Zweli Silangwe, Acting Chief Director: Stakeholder Relations and Communications in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), released a joint statement with the livestock industry regarding the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) situation in South Africa.

“It has been 15 weeks since the first case of FMD outbreak in the high surveillance area of South Africa’s FMD free zone was detected. South Africa lost its World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognised FMD-free Zone without Vaccination Status on 7 January 2019.”

Status of the outbreak

“There have been no new cases of FMD detected in the disease management area declared in Limpopo province in the last 10 weeks and thus, three incubation periods have lapsed. Intensive surveillance demonstrated that the virus did not spread and that the outbreak has been contained.”

Foot-and-mouth disease free zone status

“Strict movement controls remain in place in the disease management area and everyone is encouraged to adhere to these regulations even though roadblocks will most likely be discontinued by the end of April 2019. No animals may move into, out of, through or inside the disease management area without state veterinary approval. No unprocessed animal products of cloven-hooved animals are allowed out of the disease management area without the necessary state veterinary permits. These movement controls will remain in place for the next few months, until the outbreak can be fully resolved. A full animal identification and traceability system is being put in place for all vaccinated animals in the previously FMD-free zone part of the disease management area.

“The submission to the OIE Technical Committee for a containment zone is being prepared, though there are challenges beyond our control, we plan to still submit, albeit later than anticipated.”

Opening countries for export

“Trade has resumed for commodities considered safe by the OIE. DAFF has successfully negotiated the revision of veterinary health certificates for beef to Bahrain, Lesotho, Mozambique, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Swaziland, Seychelles, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates; and for game (venison produced before 5 December 2019) to Namibia.

“Trade in pork from FMD-free pig compartments has been re-opened with Lesotho, Seychelles, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia (partially).

“The markets for dairy products have largely been restored; while the market for the export of wool to Egypt has been opened. The trade task team is working hard to open trade channels for these commodities that are still not trading freely, which mainly include wool, mohair and hides (for leather production).

“Negotiations still underway include: Namibia (for beef), Botswana (for pork), Egypt (for hides, skin) and Malaysia (for hides, skin and wool).

“The department thanks all farmers, industries, other government institutions and colleagues that are working with Veterinary Services to resolve the current situation. More funding is still required to finally resolve the situation, and for implementation of a more sustainable FMD Control Strategy.”