55 000 cattle vaccinated in Free State in effort to combat foot and mouth disease

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Authorities say 55 000 head of cattle have been vaccinated in the Free State in a bid to curb the spread of foot and mouth disease.

This is in addition to last week’s Tuesday’s announcement by Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza of a 21-day suspension of all cattle movement in the country which is also aimed at halting the spread of the disease.

Following an urgent meeting between Minister Didiza and Premier Sisi Ntombela in Bloemfontein, plans are now under way to set up roadblocks in affected parts of the province to decontaminate vehicles that are used to ferry cattle and feedlot.

The province has outbreaks at 22 farms. They are in Viljoenskroon, Marquard, and Bethlehem. Cattle on the affected farms have been quarantined and vaccinated.

Minister Didiza says, “There will be an immediate setting up of roadblocks around that area of Marquard so that we zoom in and decontaminate every vehicle that passes through Marquard because we may not know whether it is carrying an infection in itself. We also want to urge all farmers to make sure that they clean properly clean the vehicle that they move with animals be it with cattle or feed. So that we try as best as possible to improve our biosecurity. So that other forms of spread don’t happen as a result of the vehicles that we move animals or feed which might be contaminated.”