"The provincial department of agriculture wishes to inform all concerned that the Gravelotte area is free of foot and mouth disease as from 10 January 2011," Limpopo agriculture spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, said.
Mathivha said the outbreak was initially reported by a private veterinarian In August last year, who had inspected a herd following a complaint of lameness in animals on a dairy farm near Gravelotte. Tissue and blood samples were taken to Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute which confirmed the outbreak.
"The department wishes to thank all the people of Limpopo for their cooperation during the inconveniences of roadblocks and restrictions. The Joint Operations team of various units worked tirelessly to contain and control the disease," Mathivha said.
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral and rapidly spreading disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals like cows and pigs, as well as wild animals. It is called foot and mouth after the characteristic blisters that appear on infected animals' feet and mouth. FMD is present in most of the buffalo in the Kruger National Park (KNP).
Fence breakages by elephants allow foot and mouth carriers to move out and mingle with cattle, spreading the disease. Foot and mouth is a reportable disease and there are strict measures in place to prevent it from spreading to farms and communal areas. In the areas surrounding the KNP, called the redline area, control measures include vaccinations and limiting movement of animals by the use of legal movement permits. Vaccinated animals are branded with an F on the right side of the neck and are not allowed to leave the redline area.