Posted: 6 September, 2022
Published Date: 2022-09-06 03:20:13 BST
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Foot & mouth disease - South Africa (09): (NL) cattle, WOAH, spread, control
Archive Number: 20220906.8705427
FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE - SOUTH AFRICA (09): (KWAZULU-NATAL) CATTLE, WOAH, SPREAD, CONTROL
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 KwaZulu-Natal: WOAH follow-up report 24
Date: Mon 5 Sep 2022
Source: WAHIS report ref FMD_KZN_2021_FU24 [abridged, edited]
Follow-up report 24: foot-and-mouth disease virus (inf. with), South Africa
Started: 26 May 2021
Genotype/serotype/subtype: SAT 2
Confirmed: 27 May 2021
Reported: 5 Sep 2022
[The report includes the quantitative data of all outbreaks recorded in KZN since the start of the event in May 2021, including 6 outbreaks that started during August 2022. The most recent outbreak, coined ob_106442-FMD_KZN_2021_090, located at geographic coordinates 28.3,29.1, started 20 Aug 2022. It included 16 189 susceptible cattle, of which there were 16 cases with no deaths, culling, slaughter, or vaccinations.]
Quantitative data summary, cattle (since the start of the event)
Susceptible / Cases / Deaths / Killed / Slaughtered / Vaccinated
164 830 / 1352 / 0 / 0 / 34 510 / 0
Epidemiological comments: coordinates modified to protect confidentiality as required by South African legislation.
Control measures applied: movement control, quarantine
The report includes an interactive map.
[On 16 Aug 2022, SA's Ministry of Agriculture suspended all movement of cattle in the whole country to halt the continued spread of FMD. This meant that cattle may not be moved from one property to another for any reason for a period of 21 days, reviewable weekly. As stipulated in the update report of 29 Aug 2022 (see commentary to item 2), the ban is continued in KZN's Disease Management Area (DMA). Its continuation elsewhere is under discussion. Vaccinated animals are iron-branded to become identifiable. See https://www.iol.co.za/mercury/news/cattle-movement-ban-impacting-on-farming-operations-in-kzn-4828ca92-d239-4a0b-89bf-85d20b2fc426.
For an updated review of the event, composed of 3 outbreaks, please refer to item 2. - Mod.AS]
 Updated review
Date: Wed 31 Aug 2022
Source: The Conversation [abridged, edited]
South Africa has different zones where different levels of foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] control are applied. In the north and the east, the Kruger National Park and northern KwaZulu-Natal province are considered the infected zone. This is surrounded by a protection zone, in which cloven-hooved animals are vaccinated against the virus. This provides a barrier to the disease spreading to the rest of the country. There's also a zone that is under close surveillance. The rest of South Africa is normally considered free of the disease.
The recent outbreaks have occurred in the FMD-free zone. As a result, South Africa cannot export animals and fresh meat to other countries. According to official statistics, South Africa "produces approximately 21.4% of the total meat produced on the (African) continent and 1% of global meat production." The livestock industry also contributes 34.1% to the total domestic agricultural production and provides 36% of the population's protein needs. This shows how economically damaging the current situation is.
- What is the current situation in South Africa?
There are 3 outbreaks. The 1st started in May 2021 in KwaZulu-Natal, the 2nd in March 2022 in Limpopo, and the 3rd, also in March 2022, began in the North West province and spread to the Free State, Gauteng, and Mpumulanga provinces. There are currently 127 open cases. That's a lot.
This resulted in the minister's announcement of a 21-day movement ban. Animals on affected properties are being quarantined and, in some cases, culled. There's a vaccination drive in the affected areas. All vaccinated animals should be branded with an "F" mark to show they've been inoculated against the virus. Surveillance has also increased: cattle are being examined for clinical signs of the disease; blood is being drawn to test cattle for antibodies that would indicate a previous infection.
- Is there anything else the government should be doing?
The government has tried to implement measures in line with the gazetted policy to control the disease. But there are several challenges with this approach.
The 1st is that the control of any animal disease is not solely the government's responsibility. Other stakeholders -- like farm owners and managers -- are obliged by legislation to prevent the spread of disease.
Unfortunately, most farmers, especially small-scale rural farmers, might not be aware of such responsibility. They may not have the means or have been equipped with the necessary tools to identify sick animals early and report to a state veterinary official or a private veterinarian. Those small-scale rural farmers in the infected zone need more support during outbreaks and during normal times. For instance, there's no reason why the government could not invest in assisting farmers in this zone by providing processing plants for the proper slaughtering and processing of meat in line with international standards.
Another problem is that the current measures are unfortunately short term and don't take all the issues at play into consideration. The veterinary authority, which is part of the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, needs extra funding, through a special allocation from the national treasury, to tackle these outbreaks and continue its normal work. This requires political support from cabinet and parliament.
South Africa relies on its neighbours, mainly Botswana, to supply it with FMD vaccines. This needs to be addressed to ensure prompt action against future outbreaks. The country must be able to produce and distribute vaccines fast.
It is time for the country to look at a long-term foot-and-mouth-disease plan that accommodates all role players.
[Byline: Melvyn Quan and Rebone Moerane]
[The Ministry of Agriculture published its last detailed update report on 29 Aug 2022; see https://nahf.co.za/update-report-foot-and-mouth-disease-outbreak-29-august-2022/.
A table on page 2 (of 13) presents the numbers, for each of the 6 affected provinces, of open outbreaks, resolved outbreaks, total outbreaks, and dates of last reported outbreak. The open outbreaks were recorded on 29 Aug 2022 in Free State (24 open outbreaks), Gauteng (3), and KwaZulu-Natal (78 open outbreaks).
As stated on pages 3 and 4 of the report, a total of 499 887 vaccinations have been recorded until 29 Aug 2022, of which over 265 000 were in the DMA KZN [Disease Management Area KwaZulu-Natal], which remains under the movement ban due to the continued active virus circulation. - Mod.AS