Botswana faces suspected FMD outbreak

The Botswana meat industry has been shut down following the discovery of a suspected outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) by the country’s veterinary authorities.

A number of cases, in the Francistown region of the country, have so far been reported with animals showing feet and oral lesions normally associated with the disease in a herd of around three hundred cattle. Collection of samples for laboratory testing at the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) is ongoing.

As a result the Botswana Department of Veterinary Services has put a countrywide movement ban of all cloven-hoofed animals and animal based products in place. All slaughter facilities including export abattoirs are closed with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, veterinary officials throughout the country are carrying out an exhaustive surveillance programme to determine any spread of the disease.

This includes instructing farmers who have moved susceptible livestock onto their farms within the last 30 days to report these movements to their nearest veterinary office so as to enable an immediate inspection of these animals to be undertaken. A general alert has also been issued to all farmers and those tending livestock on the need to be vigilant and report any animals showing suspicious lesions to the nearest  veterinary and police offices as soon as is possible.