Three foot and mouth disease cases confirmed in Free State

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The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has urged the farming community to refrain from moving and buying animals at auctions. This comes after three cases of foot and mouth disease were confirmed in the province.

It is suspected that animals were moved between North West and the Free State.

According to the department, the animals showed typical signs of the disease and samples were collected in order for the diagnosis to be confirmed.

MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Thembeni Nxangisa, says the cases were reported on farms in Viljoenskroon and in Marquard.

Nxangisa says the department’s veterinarians responded with speed to arrest the situation.

“We are still doing the investigation but the other farmer has got a farm in North West and the same as the Free State. So, the possibilities (are) that he might have transported animals from North West because the outbreak started in North West. But what we are doing now is we have quarantined the farms and we are arranging at least 150 000 vaccines for affected farms that are in close proximity so that we protect all the animals.”

Farmers’ vigilance

Nxangisa says the department worked with the farmers to contain the further spread of the disease in the province. He says farmers were vigilant and asked for help.

“With regard to the discovery of the disease this time around it was also in cooperation with farmers. They picked up signs and they called our vets. And in some instances, through the random check of our vets, they picked up the disease. So, we are happy with the response at the moment and the manner in which we are working, so we are content that we would be able to contain it properly.”

Farmers are warned to be cautious to minimise the risk to the trading and consumers.