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┬ábetween outbreaks┬áand 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┬ádisease control fence, cut off patrol pathways┬áand access routes to fences┬áheavy 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┬áon disease situation┬áand behaviour┬áand that it can only be lifted┬ádepending on disease situation.
Currently, he explained they are maintaining FMD free zones┬áand 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┬áeradicate the disease but to increase the interval between outbreaks.
To achieve that he said that they have┬á adopted an integrated┬á progress┬á control strategy, which includes┬á movement controls , strategic┬á vaccinations, strategic disease control fences, expansion of foot and mouth┬á free zones and public education.
The Department of Veterinary Services, he said,┬áwill take advantage of new scientific┬ádevelopment┬áwhere parts of vaccination zones,┬áincluding 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┬áto reduce elephants challenge on disease control┬áfence.