South Africa bans meat imports from Lesotho after anthrax outbreak

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa has imposed a ban on imports of meat, live animals and animal products from Lesotho following an anthrax outbreak. 

According to a Business Day report, the Veterinary Authority of Lesotho has reported three anthrax outbreaks to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

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The first outbreak was reported on May 12 and had subsequently resulted to death of a total of 24 cattle.

The South African department of agriculture has urged all local livestock owners to ensure their herd’s vaccination against Anthrax is up-to-date by carrying out the practise on an annual basis with a registered vaccine.

“Make sure that the meat you buy originates from an abattoir that is registered in terms of the Meat Safety Act.

“Animals slaughtered at these abattoirs are inspected before and after slaughter and only meat that is passed fit for human consumption is released from these registered abattoirs,” the department insisted.

Livestock farmers were also urged to report incidences of the disease to their responsible state veterinarian, private veterinarian or animal health technician for investigation. 

The department said it remained in touch with Lesotho authorities to ensure safe trade. 

Spread through contact, Anthrax is a highly infectious zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis which affects both humans and warm-blooded animals.

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Department declares end of foot n mouth outbreak

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has also declared the end of a Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, saying that there had not been any new cases of FMD in the declared disease management area since February.

South Africa experienced a FMD outbreak in Limpopo and, as a result, lost its World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognised FMD-free zone without vaccination status.

Following the development, the department said that it prepared and submitted a dossier to the OIE applying for a Containment Zone. “The DAFF is hopeful for a positive outcome of its application in the near future.”

The outbreak had seen the country loose several markets for animal and animal including, the Middle East and the Far East, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini and Mozambique.

However, the department said it has negotiated market access for safe commodities to most of the trading countries. 

The most recent success was China lifting its ban on wool imports from South Africa. Negotiations were still underway for beef exports to China, and the DAFF said it was in the process of confirming dates for the next inspection visit by the Chinese veterinary authority.

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