Sunday, March 6, 2011

Foot-and-mouth disease in KwaZulu-Natal

A recent outbreak of Foot-and-mouth disease in KwaZulu-Natal is threatening all industries in South Africa involving cloven-hoof animals.  There is a ban on all exports of cloven-hoof animal products that could potentially carry the virus from South Africa which could result in huge economic losses.  The outbreak was first recognized in Ingwavuma district in northern KwaZulu-Natal on the border of Swaziland and Mozambique.  While conducting routine tests the virus ave been antibodies were detected in about half of the animals however no clinical symptoms detected in the animals.  The last major outbreak in South Africa began September 2000 and it took almost five years for  South Africa to get a Foot-and-mouth disease -free status.
Foot-and-mouth is highly infectious and sometimes fatal in animals. The virus causes a high fever and blisters inside the mouth and on the feet and  the disease has an incubation period of two to 12 days.  Additionally, infected animals often drool or secrete foamy saliva.
Hannah Harrison                                                                     

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