Foot-and-mouth disease outbreak hits Shurugwi farm

Sukoluhle Ndlovu, Midlands Correspondent

GWENHORO Commercial Farm in Shurugwi has been hit by foot-and-mouth disease, a development which is likely to adversely affect livestock movement and production in the Midlands Province.

An official from the Veterinary Services in the province, Dr Munyaradzi Chigiji, yesterday said more than 50 cattle have been affected.

“There has been an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Shurugwi which has seen more than 50 cattle being affected. The outbreak was detected last week on Monday,” he said.

Dr Chigiji said the veterinary services department has started vaccinating cattle from Gwenhoro farm and surrounding areas to prevent further outbreak.

“As veterinary services, we have resorted to vaccinate livestock from that area and other surrounding areas, and our target is to vaccinate 10 000 cattle.

“We have also introduced quarantine meaning no cows are permitted to move to that area or from that area until we are satisfied that the disease has been dealt with,” he said.

Dr Chigiji said his department was working with the police to make sure farmers adhere to movement restrictions.

“We have engaged the services of the police who will monitor the movement of cattle in the province as Shurugwi has been marked as a red zone,” he said.

Dr Chigiji encouraged farmers from surrounding areas to quickly alert veterinary officers if they see symptoms of the deadly disease on their livestock.

“We are encouraging farmers from Shurugwi and other surrounding areas to quickly alert veterinary services in the event they notice symptoms of foot and mouth because early detection helps in preventing the spread of disease. We also want to advise farmers and villagers that they should never consume meat suspected to be from infected cattle. Farmers should also observe movement restrictions in order to minimise the spread of the disease,” he said.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe, highly contagious viral disease that causes illness in cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other animals with divided hooves. It does not affect horses, dogs, or cats and can spread quickly and cause significant economic losses.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, blisters in the mouth and on feet, drop in milk production, weight loss, loss of appetite, quivering lips and frothing of mouth, lameness while cows may develop blisters on teats.

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