By Simon Liseli
THE common dangerous disease known as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that kills domestic animals in the eastern Caprivi is under prevention after the Directorate of Veterinary Services in Katima Mulilo detected it on November 26, 2011.
Speaking to Caprivi Vision Dr. Frank Chitate the State Veterinarian in Katima Mulilo said FMD was detected last year November in the areas such as Masikili, Ihaha and Ngoma of the eastern Caprivi and prevention measures were taken up by his office and that included veterinary road blocks by impounding Meat and Milk as they are not allowed and Cattle were prevented by injecting them.
He described the out –break to be a viral contagious disease, which is too rapid to Cattle and other cloven hoof animals that include Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Pigs.
“It’s very very much rapidly that’s why prevention measures have to be taken with immediate effect once it’s detected and since that time up to now we have never seen or discovered any cases of the disease,” he said.
He said the most commonly signs of the disease are profuse salvation, laziness as they are blisters and when blisters raptures sores, ulcers and serious salvation, wounds between feet start to grow and animals will not be able to graze and move properly.
He added saying the animals themselves can heal this disease on their own as they will produce anti-bodies that will fight the disease and also they can be healed by using remedies like wound spray between the feet to facilitate rapid healing of the wounds.
Wild Buffalos mostly carry the virus that causes this disease and therefore where cattle graze together with Buffalos is where there are opportunities for the disease to transfer from Buffalos to Cattle.
Asked how many Cattle died during the out break of the disease, Dr. Chitate said, “Generally speaking Cattle cannot die of the disease its just the disease that spreads rapidly and today we talk of 909 Cattle that were affected by the disease but they recovered within three weeks,” he quashed.
The Buffalos that used to spread the disease usually cross from Botswana in Chobe National Park to Namibia in search of water and good grazing areas during the dry season and that is when Cattle used to mix with them and get the disease.
The State Veterinarian Dr. Chitate pointed out that the protection measures that were implemented when the disease was detected were movement control of animals as cattle up to now are not allowed to move freely in the region especially those with cloven hoof.
Road blocks within the main road are also in order to prevent movement of infectious things like meat, milk and other products from animals origin that can contain the virus and vaccination is also implemented to give protection to livestock.
“In other words these road blocks are there to prevent the movement of those products especially to the eastern side where the disease was detected because the virus can be found in those products,” stressed the Dr.
When he was asked to clear out whether the movement of those products and slaughtering of Cattle were not allowed in all parts of the region and when will the quarantine open to the public he said, “Well, the rest of the region where we did not detect the disease suddenly, farmers can slaughter their Cattles “
On the issue of the quarantine Dr. Chitate said the out break is always declared over after looking at a six months period of no diseases is when it can be declared over on international standard.
He however, did not confirm the exact date for the opening of the quarantine to the public as they have to wait from the date of the last case and the out break of the disease have to be declared over is when the slaughter will be resumed in the region to the export abattoir.
He urged farmers to comply with the system which is put in place as these restrictions are there for purpose and he also appealed to all farmers to bring their animals for vaccination when it is called so that all animals are protected and in the eastern side where the problem started vaccinations have been concluded on January 18, and vaccination teams have to proceed to the rest of the region.
He finally reminded farmers that any movement of the animals is governed by a permit system and that is always expected to move animals from place to place as it is also one of their control measures and these movement permits are found to Veterinary sub-station offices in the region, identity cards and stock cards are needed when applying for the permit.
“Farmers should always approach animal technicians once they notice or detect any sign of a disease to their animals so that investigations can be carried out and they can also still report to Agricultural Extension Officers in their areas, those officers will always communicate to us and further steps will be taken,” he lamented.
Caption: (State Veterinarian in Caprivi DR. Frank Chitate speaking to CVNEWS on the recent FMD outbreak.), (Mouth infection, Foot Infection)