RUNDU – The foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the Kavango West has spread further to more villages, veterinary authorities confirmed yesterday.
This brings the number of villages with FMD cases to three, including Sivara where the initial 13 cases were reported in Kapako constituency. Kaguni and Nkata villages are the latest areas to report new cases.
“On 30 October, we picked up cases again at Nkata village and Kaguni village. These two villages are south of Rundu and that have now made us to think that the spread of the disease can be across the two regions,” said Dr Kenneth Shoombe, who is responsible for the north and northeastern regions.
The FMD outbreak was first detected on 28 September 2020 at Hoha village in the Ndiyona constituency of Kavango East. “Initially, the cases were more picked at areas along the river and now they have moved a bit in the inland.
With all these cases, we still haven’t traced the movement of animals from the initial fossil point. But in our dialogue with the community, we found out that these animals mostly moved from across the border, across the river in Angola were we suspect they might have picked up the infection,” Shoombe noted. He added authorities initially thought the disease would be contained in the Kavango East village of Hoha were it was first detected.
“We thought it would be contained in the area but recently we are detecting cases west of Kavango East and fresh cases in Kavango West region, which have now triggered us to close the two Kavango regions,” he added.
“We have restricted animal movement and animal products from Kavango East and Kavango West to the rest of the northern communal areas which is Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and Oshana and Kunene north.” The strategy in controlling this outbreak is through vaccination, animal movement restrictions and continuous surveillance. More officials from other northern regions are expected to join the teams on the ground to help curb the spread of the disease. “We will be getting 10 teams to start the vaccination in areas where we did not vaccinate in August during a vaccination we had in Kavango West. We have strategic areas which were covered already that time in August during our routine vaccination. The incoming team will vaccinate non-high risk areas,” he said.
Shoombe indicated that the outbreak is still confined to a protection zone. Namibia is divided into three zones in terms of FMD control, the infection zone, the protection zone and the free zone. “The protection zone runs from Shamangorwa veterinary fence at the side of Mukwe constituency up to Atlantic Ocean in Kunene, then it runs from the north across the border into Angola up to the veterinary cordon fence which runs from Oshivelo, Mururani to Bravo,” he said. “So that whole block is called the FMD protection zone and the disease is still confined to that area, the Hoha, Katere, Sivara, Nkata and Kaguni are all villages within the protection zone.” Shoombe also told New Era teams on the ground were experiencing vaccination challenges, including lack of material. “You know the economic situation of our country, but we have dedicated staff that are busy vaccinating and manning roadblocks to control movements of restricted materials or animals,” he said. He also cautioned motorists to adhere to measures imposed, including cooperating with law enforcement officers at various roadblocks set up to curb the spread of the disease. “We have engaged with the police in both Kavango West and Kavango East and they indicated they will support us by deploying more police officers at roadblocks.”