Drug shortage stalls FMD fight


A DRUG shortage has stalled the fight against a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces.

The Veterinary Services Department says it is struggling to contain the outbreak.

Addressing a livestock business forum in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Reverend Spargo, an official from the Veterinary Services Department said they were forced to import veterinary vaccines from Botswana.

“We have limited availability of vaccines to contain the outbreak, and we import vaccines from Botswana,” Spargo said. 

“We are doing surveillance in the affected areas through weekly cattle inspections, as well as mounting static and roving veterinary checkpoints to ensure compliance with livestock movement restrictions."

Since the beginning of this year, the department killed 87 cattle and four goats after they were illegally moved during a foot and mouth disease outbreak.

“About 80% of foot and mouth disease outbreaks are caused by illegal movement of livestock. Other factors are trans-boundary spread of cattle and buffalo interactions,” Spargo said.

Meanwhile, Mount Darwin farmers have appealed to government to provide vaccines to stop the virus from spreading across the country.

FMD is one of the most contagious viruses affecting livestock. It is spread by discharge from blisters and by saliva from infected animals.

 It can be spread by contact with an infected animal, contaminated animal parts or objects such as farm equipment.

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