The Mozambican government on Tuesday banned all movement of livestock in the southern districts of Magude and Massingir, following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. This is a highly infectious viral disease of hoofed animals. It causes a high fever and blisters on the mouth and feet, hence the name. It can affect domestic cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, and also wild ruminants.

The government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, announced the ban after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet). He said that wild species are a strong vector for transmission of the disease “and so we are taking the opportunity to ban the movement of livestock in the affected areas”.

Among the package of measures intended to contain the outbreak are the isolation of infected animals and any that may have been in contact with them, vaccination of livestock, raising the awareness of the public about the danger of the disease, and strengthening epidemiological surveillance of animal movementS throughout the country. Saide said the outbreak was detected after two years in which no cases of foot and mouth disease were reported in the country.

The veterinary services were informed of a suspected case on a cattle farm in the Mapulanguene administrative post, in Magude district. A team was immediately sent to the farm and confirmed the outbreak. A second veterinary brigade discovered animals with typical symptoms of the disease in Massingir.

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