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Wildlife Increases Foot and Mouth Spread Among Zimbabwean Cattle

24 July 2015

ZIMBABWE - There have been 17 new outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease on cattle holdings in Zimbabwe, where spread of the disease has been exacerbated by contact with wild animals.

In total, there were 983 cases of the SAT 2 serotype out of a susceptible population of 20,057. Some of the cases occurred in village cattle and some occurred on farms. 

All of the affected populations were described by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as "cattle of varying age groups sharing grazing and watering points".

Another outbreak on a farm in Matabeleland affected 30 cattle on a commercial farm, but the serotype of this outbreak was unknown.

Outbreaks in Chiredzi, Manicaland and Mwenezi districts have been occurring in the routine vaccination areas adjacent to national parks with resident wild buffalo, where cattle and wildlife share grazing and watering points, as routine Foot and Mouth vaccinations in these areas are long overdue.

In other areas, new outbreaks are a result of local spread from infected communal dip tank areas to adjacent ones, as animals mix within the quarantined infected zone as they access water and grazing.

Not enough vaccine was available to cover all the affected areas, so the limited resources were directed to a 10 km cordon area that has been created to prevent further spread of the outbreaks to the north and west of the country.

So far, 50,000 cattle in an area occupied by both livestock and wildlife in the Manicaland region have been vaccinated in response to the outbreak. Another 26,992 cattle in the infected Masvingo region recently received booster vaccinations in a 20km radius around the outbreaks, with 78 per cent turnout recorded.

In addition, a total of 57,000 animals were vaccinated in Matabeleland.

To try and control spread, affected districts are under quarantine and no movement is allowed outside the prescribed infected areas. However, limited movement is being allowed within the infected districts to access grazing and water as well as for direct slaughter at designated abattoirs under veterinary supervision.

Weekly inspection of the affected premises and of all properties within a 20km radius zone is ongoing.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock


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