AUTHORITIES in Malawi have, with immediate effect, banned the slaughtering and movement of livestock in Blantyre and Neno districts.
This follows a suspected outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD in the country’s southern region.
An FMD outbreak has been reported in Lisungwi and Kuthembwe Extension Planning Areas in Neno districts and some Agriculture extension area in the commercial city of Blantyre.
Farmers are being advised to cooperate with Veterinary Officers, security personnel and the Police during the vaccination process that it is yet to implement in the affected areas.
The ministry of Agriculture has since detected 164 clinical cases in 6 kraals in Neno and13 cases in 6 kraals in Kunthembwe, Blantyre in an on-going preliminary testing exercise.
A statement released on Tuesday says government officials used Control and Animal Diseases Act (Cap 66:02), and the World Animal Health organisation guidelines to effect the indefinite ban.
Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral disease that mostly affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
The virus causes a high fever for approximately two to six days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
FMD has very severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals comparatively easily through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, food and by domestic and wild predators.