RUNDU - The ministry of agriculture’s directorate of veterinary services (DVS) is busy with the mass vaccination of livestock against the regular foot-and-mouth disease and the recently identified new variant ‘Serotype O’ in the Zambezi region.
Laboratory investigations identified a new FMD virus, Serotype O, on 9 August for the first time in the history of Namibia. These lab investigations came about after vaccinated cattle’s poor response to the vaccine which was administered during the first outbreak.
The DVS began with the mass vaccination on 21 September, and a total of 135 137 (SATs) and 131 556 (Type O) animals out of 141 678 have been vaccinated. The ministry says the campaign is going smoothly as farmers are cooperating with officials, and have brought their livestock for vaccines at their nearby crush pens.
“This gives a cumulative coverage of 79.5% of the targeted 170 000 cattle population in the Zambezi region,” said Jona Musheko, the agriculture ministry’s spokesperson.
He told New Era yesterday that a booster vaccination (the second dose for all cattle vaccinated with the first dose) with FMD type O (the new variant) vaccine began on 19 October 2021, and as of 22 October, a total of 12 746 out of 13 124 cattle presented were vaccinated from 34 crush pens.
“The last known case was reported on 6 September at Mukisa village in Zambezi, and animal movement restrictions in the region are still in place in and around strategic entry points,” he explained.
Musheko said the ministry has targeted about 170 000 cattle to be vaccinated with FMD SAT 1, 2 and 3 (the usual FMD) and FMD Type O (the new variant) vaccines, and about 97 600 cattle were vaccinated between 31 May and 9 August with SAT 1, 2 and 3 vaccine as a response to the initial FMD outbreak.
“No FMD signs were detected in the western parts of the Zambezi region since the beginning of the campaign. Overall, the vaccination campaign is progressing very well. The farmers’ response is very obliging since the commencement of the vaccination campaign,” he noted.
“We urge our farmers to continue bringing their cattle for the second dose/the booster, and to adhere to animal movement restrictions set in place within the Zambezi region,” he added.