FS Dept of Agriculture concerned about anthrax outbreak in Lesotho

Caption: A total amount of 12 cattle is reported to have died as a result of the anthrax outbreak. Photo: AgriOrbit

The Free State Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Service has reached out SAPS Provincial Commissioner and SANDF’s Joint Tactical Head to increase patrols, investigate and monitor any movement of animals along the border of Lesotho. This follows reports of an Anthrax outbreak in the Mountain Kingdom.

The Lesotho Veterinary Authority earlier reported three anthrax outbreaks to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).  A total amount of 12 cattle is reported to have died as a result of the said outbreak.

The National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is in contact with the Veterinary Authority of Lesotho to ensure safe trade while the anthrax outbreaks are ongoing. A ban has been imposed on imports from Lesotho into South Africa of live animals susceptible to anthrax and products of these animals, including wool.

Anthrax is a disease of humans and warm-blooded animals and is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Animals become infected by eating or licking material that is contaminated with spores or breathing in the spores. These spores are formed when the bacteria are exposed to oxygen in the event that an animal that died of anthrax is cut open. The spores are resistant and survive for long periods (up to decades) in the environment. Humans most commonly contract the disease through contact with anthrax infected animals or animal products such as meat.

How can livestock owners protect their livestock? 

  • The livestock farmers are advised to vaccinate their animals against Anthrax at least once every 12 months.
  • Any sudden deaths of livestock with blood oozing from carcass openings must be reported to the nearest State Veterinarian office.
  • Carcasses of animals that died suddenly must not be opened.
  • Farmers are advised to purchase livestock from reputable sources.
  • We advise the community not to eat or handle meat of animals that died suddenly.
  • The community is advised to slaughter animals for own consumption.

Residents have been advised to buy meat that originates from an abattoir that is registered in terms of the Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No. 40 of 2000).  Animals slaughtered at these abattoirs are inspected before and after slaughter and only meat that is passed fit for human consumption is released from these registered abattoirs.

The Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will undertake Anthrax awareness campaigns in the following towns:

  • Ladybrand on 11 June 2019
  • Clocolan on 11 June 2019,
  • Hobhouse on 12 June 2019
  • Tweespruit on 12 June 2019
  • Qwaqwa on 19 June 2019
  • Van Rooyen on 13 June 2019