Thursday, March 23, 2023

Govt contains Ngami FMD despite challenges

The Ministry of Agriculture said this week that the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), which broke out in Ngamiland district in November 2007 seems to be under control.

Dr Kobedi Segale, Deputy Director of Department of Veterinary Services told The Telegraph the argument is based on the interval of seven months between the time the disease broke out and the number of cases per out break.

Long intervals between outbreaks and the low numbers of cases, he said, is clear evidence that the disease was under control.

When the disease broke out three years ago, it was the first time in 26 years, indicating that their strategy of fighting the disease had increased the intervals of outbreaks of the disease.
However, Segale revealed there are challenges, including the presence of buffaloes in the area, and the continued threat of disease from neighbouring countries.

Other challenges are the destruction of the fence by elephants, flooding of disease control fence, cut off patrol pathways and access routes to fences heavy and rough terrain.
Buffaloes present a problem, especially in the Ngami area because these wild animals expose livestock to foot and mouth viruses.

He said the lifting of cattle movement restrictions is dependent on disease situation and behaviour and that it can only be lifted depending on disease situation.

Currently, he explained they are maintaining FMD free zones and are expanding these zones without vaccinations.
He said the only area declared disease free zone without vaccination is Zone 4 and are working to achieve the same results in the Selebi Phikwe area. He added that the strategy in Ngamiland is currently not to eradicate the disease but to increase the interval between outbreaks.

To achieve that he said that they have  adopted an integrated  progress  control strategy, which includes  movement controls , strategic  vaccinations, strategic disease control fences, expansion of foot and mouth  free zones and public education.

The Department of Veterinary Services, he said, will take advantage of new scientific development where parts of vaccination zones, including Ngamiland, can be declared foot and mouth free with vaccination. To achieve this he said that they have adopted the use of improved vaccine, reinforcements of buffalo fences, sub zoning of zones and use of chellie pepper impregnated implants to reduce elephants challenge on disease control fence.


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