Malawi reported on Thursday 26 cases of foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious viral disease which attacks livestock including cattle, goats and pigs.

Director in the Department of Livestock and Animal Health in the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Patrick Chikungwa, told journalists in the capital, Lilongwe that the disease had been reported in Chikhwawa district within the Shire Valley, an area in the country’s southern region.

“Ongoing preliminary investigations conducted on 30 August, 2017 by veterinary field staff from the Shire Valley Agricultural Development Division and Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development indicated total number of 26 cases in eight kraals as being affected, with an estimated total of over 10,000 cattle at immediate risk,” explained Chikungwa.

He added: “In conformity with the Control and Animal Diseases Act, and the World Animal Health Organization Guidelines, the Ministry would therefore like to inform the general public that it has with immediate effect instituted temporary suspension of all livestock markets within the affected areas.”

Chikungwa further disclosed that there had also been instituted a temporary ban of all livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep and pig slaughtering in the affected areas.

He also said there has been a restriction of livestock and livestock products movement from and into the affected areas, along with a ban on issuance of livestock movement permits from the affected areas.

Foot and mouth disease virus is carried by buffaloes as passive agents and is common in the country’s lower Shire valley, especially during summer when cattle graze close to where the buffaloes graze, according to Chikungwa. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh