MASVINGO-Masvingo has been hit by a foot and mouth outbreak which has affected cattle movement and trade in the province.
FMD outbreak was first detected in Masvingo District, in the resettlement areas bordering Kyle Recreational Park, and it spread towards Sipambi resettlement areas with the department of veterinary services quickly dispatching officers to try and contain the disease.
Masvingo provincial veterinary director, Dr Krema Manyetu confirmed the outbreak, but referred further questions to his superiors in Harare, who in turn did not respond to calls despite numerous attempts.
“It’s true that we have a foot and mouth outbreak in Masvingo but on that issue I am not supposed to speak to the press, you can get hold of my superiors in Harare, “ he said.
However, sources at the provincial office said cattle trade and movement from various districts has been suspended as Masvingo district has been turned into a red zone.
Sources said the department is well prepared after it received enough vaccinations to curb the spread of the viral disease.
“What we are currently doing at the moment is ring vaccinations, which means vaccinating cattle from areas which are not yet affected until we reach areas which have cattle that have been affected.
“We have enough vaccinations to fight the outbreak and our teams are currently on the ground and have covered substantial areas in Masvingo district and I’m sure we are containing the outbreak,” said the source.
The source added that the disease might have emanated from resettlement areas bordering Kyle Recreational Park where cattle could have come into contact with wildlife being kept at the sanctuary.
FMD is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids.
The virus causes a high fever lasting two to six days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and near the hoof that may rupture and cause lameness.
FMD has very severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals comparatively easily through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, and feed, and by domestic and wild predators
Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions, quarantines, and the culling of both infected and healthy (uninfected) animals.