New Type-O Foot and Mouth Disease Spreads to LL

The ministry of agriculture says about 300 cattle have been affected by a new Type-O Foot and Mouth disease which hit Mlonyeni Extension Planning Area in Mchinji district in February but has now spread to Ukwe Extension Planning Area in Lilongwe.

Deputy Director of Animal Health and Field Services, Dr. Gilson Njunga has told Zodiak that they are currently undertaking a vaccination campaign in the affected areas, where 22 thousand livestock have been vaccinated so far.

Njunga says the country's livestock farming and business sectors are at risk to be affected by the disease outbreak hence restricting animal slaughter and movements in the affected areas.

"Initially it was only Mchinji but now Ukwe Extension Planning Area has also been affected by this disease. It is actually a new type of foot and mouth disease named Type-O as we used to have S.A.T 1, 2 and 3," said Njunga.

"We have intensified vaccination campaigns on the two districts where we have managed to vaccinate 22 thousand livestock so far, but the risks of further spread are still high" he added

An agriculture expert, Horace Phiri has advised people in the country to adhere to the set measures to avoid further spread of the virus with Malawi already going through a lot of hardships.

"We have seen with the Covid19 pandemic that government alone cannot deal with such problems, as it depends on Malawians to join hands, so, on the foot and mouth disease, there is need for a joint adherence to the set restrictions and the war again this livestock disease will be won," noted Phiri.

For several years, the foot and mouth disease has affected livestock farming in the Lower Shire districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje before a new outbreak was identified in Mchinji.

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