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Government tightens screws on foot and mouth disease

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BY BLESSINGS KANG’OMBE,

A CONTRIBUTOR:

The Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development has said it has registered progress in containing the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the country.

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This comes as a total of about 1,100 cases have been registered in cattle from just over 300 kraals in the districts of Neno, Blantyre, Dedza and Ntcheu.

Director of Animal Health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Patrick Chikungwa, said Monday that, due to interventions put in place by stakeholders, no new cases have been reported outside the areas that were initially affected.

“After the outbreak was reported, we can confirm that, during the first phase of vaccination, a total of 30,021 cattle have been vaccinated out of the targeted 34,075 in the demarcated buffer zones within Blantyre and Neno districts.

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“In Ntcheu and Dedza, a total of 7,339 out of 9,412 cattle have been vaccinated. And, so far, the compliance of those who have livestock has been encouraging. They are following control measures,” Chikungwa said.

He added that lifting of the ban imposed on slaughter and sale of meat in affected areas is aimed at containing the outbreak.

“We are actively conducting surveillance activities in the affected areas to ensure that the disease is fully contained and the general public will continuously be updated on progress,” Chikungwa said.

In the meantime, the government continues to lead in efforts aimed at containing the outbreak. Control measures include supplying vaccines and disinfectants and controlling livestock movement.

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