A foot-and-mouth disease outbreak has hit Mvuma District in the Midlands Province and might spread if urgent action is not taken. An official with the Midlands Veterinary Services, Dr Munyaradzi Chigiji, confirmed the development yesterday.
“The outbreak is as a result of trans-boundary movements. We have recorded cases of foot and mouth at various dip tanks in Mvuma communal areas that border with Masvingo Province. Our officials are still on the ground managing the situation and compiling statistics,” he said.
Dr Chigiji said they were also working with police to monitor the movement of meat from Mvuma. He said meat from contaminated beasts was dangerous if consumed by humans. Dr Chigiji also said the veterinary department and health inspectors had launched an educational campaign for communities to stop consuming contaminated meat but to bury it.
He urged farmers to observe livestock movement restrictions, to minimise the spread of the disease from the red zone areas to other parts of the country. Dr Chigiji said the veterinary department banned movement of cattle from Mvuma communal areas as a way of controlling the spread of the disease.
“We have banned cattle movements in Mvuma communal areas. Commercial areas however are exempted from the ban because no cases were detected in commercial farms,” he said.
Dr Chigiji said he was hopeful Government would release funds under next year’s Command Livestock programme to fund the demarcation of foot and mouth zones. Foot and mouth disease is very contagious and spreads rapidly among animals, making it difficult to control.