MEDIA STATEMENT 28 March 2019
South Africa lost its foot-and-mouth disease free zone without vaccination status as granted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on 7 January 2019. This was after Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) confirmed and reported an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the high surveillance area of the FMD-free zone in Limpopo.
Status of the outbreak
There have been no new cases of FMD detected in the last seven weeks. Sero-surveillance samples have been taken from all dip tanks and/or crush pens in the disease management area and are being processed at Onderstepoort (OVR). More than 13 000 animals in the previous FMD-free zone will have been vaccinated twice by the end of March 2019. Movement control regulations are still in place and no animals may move out of, into or inside the disease management area without state veterinary approval. No unprocessed products of cloven-hooved animals are allowed out of the disease management area. Roadblocks are still in place and will probably be replaced with roving patrols in the near future.
Foot-and-mouth disease free zone status
An application to the OIE Technical Committee for declaration of a disease containment zone is being prepared and will be submitted before the end of April 2019. If this application is successful, the FMD free zone status of the rest of the country will be reinstated.
The continuation of trade in safe commodities has been prioritised. Safe commodities include any product that has been processed in such a way that FMD virus, should it be present, will have been destroyed. International guidelines are available for safe commodities with regards to FMD. However, each importing country retains the right to determine its appropriate level of protection and exporters are urged to obtain import requirements via their contact points in the importing countries. The department considers the following products as safe commodities, although this list is not exhaustive:
- Raw salted hides and skins;
- Wet blue and crust hides;
- Scoured wool;
- Collagen and gelatine;
- Meat of cloven hoofed animals that were slaughtered on or before 5 December 2018;
- Deboned, deglanded, matured beef;
- Pork from approved FMD free pig compartments;
- Processed dairy and dairy products.
Opening countries for export
The establishment and approval of a disease containment zone will re-establish the previous FMD-free zone without vaccination status (excluding the FMD control zone and the disease containment zone) which will greatly enhance the re-opening of trade with all previous trading partners.
In the interim, the Department has successfully negotiated the revision of veterinary health certificates for beef to
Bahrain √ Lesotho √ Mozambique √
Egypt √ Qatar √
Jordan √ Swaziland √
Kuwait √ the United Arab Emirates √
Trade in pork from FMD-free pig compartments has been re-opened to
Lesotho √ Seychelles √ Mozambique √
Swaziland √ Namibia (partially) √
Negotiations still underway include
Namibia (for beef) √ Botswana (for pork) √
The markets for dairy products have largely been restored.
Some markets for the export of hides, skins and wool are still affected and negotiations are taking place in particular where products have been processed to ensure the destruction of the FMD virus.
China, more specifically
The DAFF’s Director-General and the Chief Director: Animal Production and Health, went to China and were well received. Presentation was made on the FMD outbreak status and the planned action to regain the previous FMD-free zone without vaccination status. Their Chinese counterparts requested the opportunity to evaluate the information presented and to conduct a risk analysis on trade in safe commodities.
The situation as described above demonstrates that the Disease Control Strategy is yielding positive results. Though the outbreak is under control, this does not mean that it is resolved and that no further measures will be implemented. There is still a long road ahead but the danger is currently out of the way. It is therefore imperative that all parties that have been instrumental in the success thus far remain committed and work together to resolve this outbreak as soon as possible.
For more information, contact:
Steve Galane: Departmental Spokesperson
083 635 7346