The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is pleased to announce that quarantine has been lifted on 9 locations, with 10 properties remaining under quarantine. Our veterinary Services are continuously working with the affected farmers to resolve the remaining 10 farms, and good progress is being made in this regard.
Botswana has lifted the ban on export of live cattle from South Africa. The import conditions for export of cattle to Botswana have been revised and a health certificate has been agreed upon. Foot-and-Mouth (FMD) specific import conditions include isolation of animals for at least 30 days whilst preparing for export under supervision of the Veterinary Authority and testing for FMD during this time. The agreed upon conditions were provided to the Provincial Veterinary Services and potential exporters are advised to contact their local state veterinarian to familiarise themselves with the requirements for exporting cattle to Botswana.
Most trade partners have retained the negotiated agreements for safe commodities. Updated information has been supplied to the veterinary authorities to provide assurances on the continued safe trade of commodities.
FMD is not contagious to humans and the meat from animals that have recovered from the disease is safe for human consumption. Permission was granted to 9 feedlots for the safe slaughter of animals from affected premises at two abattoirs designated for this purpose. This process is continuing and more than 11 000 animals from farms under quarantine have been safely processed. Once all animals on affected properties have been slaughtered, quarantine can be lifted and the farming operations can resume.
Livestock owners and traders are again strongly advised to take “buyer beware” precautions and to maintain basic biosecurity measures on their farms. These measures will also prevent outbreaks of other contagious diseases in your animals, including Brucellosis in cattle and African Swine Fever in the case of pigs. The most important points to remember remain:
- Only buy animals from known and proven sources;
- Insist on a veterinary health declaration before animals are brought onto your farms;
- Always place new arrivals in isolation until you can satisfy yourself of their health status.
- move animals that show signs of disease;
- buy animals from unknown origin;
- buy animals originating from known infected areas;
- allow visitors and buyers to have contact with your animals without proper disinfection of their hands, shoes and anything that could transmit the virus.
Once the process of resolving all affected premises has been concluded, the department will embark on a general surveillance strategy in the areas affected by the January 2019 and November 2019 outbreaks. Going forward, the outcome of this survey will determine the process of regaining international FMD free zone status.
The department wishes to thank the livestock industries, the veterinary officials on the ground and the affected farmers for their concerted effort and cooperation.
The FMD outbreak in Limpopo started in November 2019 and 19 locations tested positive for FMD. The last positive location was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (also known as OIE) on 26 February 2020 and no new positive locations have been identified since. On most of the affected locations, more than 6 months have passed since the last clinical cases, which is a very encouraging sign that the outbreak was successfully controlled.