An auctioneer had been arrested on suspicion of violating a ban on selling animals from an area affected by foot and mouth disease in South Africa’s Limpopo province, the agricultural department said on Wednesday.

The viral disease, which causes lesions and lameness in cattle and sheep, was detected for a second time in November after a previous outbreak in January last year.

The latest outbreak prompted a suspension of live auctions in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North West Provinces and saw neighbouring countries eSwatini and Zimbabwe suspend animal imports.

“The outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Limpopo Province has had a devastating effect on the economy of the country as a whole,” said Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza in a statement.

The suspect, whose case is postponed for further investigation until March 23, is alleged to have knowingly received and sold cloven hoofed animals from the affected area.

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) does not affect people but poses a threat to cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.