11 August 2020
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Monday, 25 March 2019 13:53

Ministry yet to identify virus causing foot and mouth disease

Written by  Synet Chitete
Ministry yet to identify virus causing foot and mouth disease pic sourced from internet

Mzuzu, March 25, 2019. Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development has said that despite confirmation Foot and Mouth Disease in Mzimba South, it is yet to identify the type of virus causing the disease.

According to Deputy Director for Veterinary Department in the Ministry the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. Gilson Njunga, specimens from infected animals have already been sent to Botswana for identification of the virus and that until the results are obtained, no vaccine can be administered.

He was speaking in Mzuzu during a stakeholders meeting on the ban of sale of meat and other products of cattle, goats, sheep and pigs due to the outbreak of the disease in Mzimba South.

“As I speak, samples of infected animals have been collected and sent to Botswana for identification of the virus that causes the disease.

“This disease is caused by seven different types of viruses, five of which were previously identified in the country; until we know the type of virus causing this disease, we cannot administer any vaccine,” Njunga said.

He reminded the stakeholders who included, both small scale as well as macro livestock entrepreneurs in Mzuzu City and surrounding areas to adhere to the ban as ordered by the ministry.

“We must bear in mind that restrictions are not made by us on our own; we act in accordance with World Animal Organization Guidelines. Therefore, we expect your continued cooperation by ensuring that no animal is slaughtered or sold and there should be no movement of animals from Mzimba South into the city,” the Deputy Director said.

Acting Chairperson for Mzuzu Private Butchers Association, Stanley Moyo said as much as the association welcomes the ban, local entrepreneurs feel being unfairly treated because despite the ban, some big entrepreneur’s like Nyama World, Shoprite, Sana Cash and Carry continue to sale meat and products of the said animals.

 “What we are saying is that we want a total ban, everyone including Shoprite, Nyama World, Sana and Peoples should not be spared from the ban. If there is a total ban, the outbreak may be attended to and dealt with, with urgency,” he said.

In response, Njunga said the mentioned entrepreneurs have been allowed to sale the products because they have well refrigerated vans to enable them ferry uninfected meat from other regions.

He advised the association to lodge a formal complaint with the Ministry if they feel that they are treated unfairly.