Published Date: 2005-03-04 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Foot & mouth disease - Botswana: preventive measures
Archive Number: 20050304.0665
FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE - BOTSWANA: PREVENTIVE MEASURES
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Reuters South Africa, 3 Mar 2005 [edited]
Botswana electrifies Zimbabwe fence to stop disease
Botswana will electrify its 700-km (435-mile) border fence with
Zimbabwe to try and keep foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] out of the
country and deter would-be illegal immigrants, its chief veterinarian
In the last year, the world's number-one diamond producer has been
almost doubling the height of the border fence to 2.4 from 1.4 m (8
ft from 4.6 ft) and electrification would start once this was
completed in June 2005, head of veterinary services Musa Fanikiso
Botswana, one of Africa's wealthier countries, with per capita income
of about $3000, says lost exports after FMD outbreaks in 2002 and
2003 cost it 37 million euros [USD 49 million], which is why the
fence is being upgraded.
"Even without electrification it is quite a significant barrier,"
Fanikiso said in a telephone interview. "It is difficult to say the
disease came from Zimbabwe. It is a suspicion but I cannot prove it."
Roughly 16 000 cattle -- a declining but still important export for Botswana -
- were culled in each of the 2 outbreaks, he said. FMD has become more common
in neighbouring Zimbabwe as economic decline hit veterinary services and
cordon fences intended to stop disease spread. "Their staff is very
competent, but they don't have the resources anymore," he said in the
interview conducted on Wednesday [2 Mar 2005] night. "One of the reasons for
the spread is that the fences weren't maintained."
The Zimbabwe government's seizure of white-owned farms to give to landless
blacks had led to cattle being less well-cared-for and inspected, promoting
the spread of the disease, he said. In Botswana, fences and veterinary
checkpoints controlled the spread of the 2002 and 2003 outbreaks, he said.
But the main boundary fence with Zimbabwe was frequently cut, he said,
although it was quickly repaired.
"I think some of those who come here for work cut holes in the
fence," he said. Inflation, unemployment and economic decline have
led to many Zimbabweans emigrating legally or illegally to find work
and foreign currency.
But despite this, Botswana's export cattle ranching areas were now FMD-free,
Fanikiso said. In northern Botswana, around the town of Kasane, the border
ferry to Zambia and the Chobe National Park, wild buffalo might still carry
the disease, he said. "In these areas, we vaccinate the cattle 3 times a year
and we haven't had an outbreak in 24 years," he said.
[Byline: Peter Apps]
[A detailed description of Botswana's FMD control system can be seen
in a report of an EU mission, carried out in 2000
According to Botswana's annual report for 2003, following the
2002/2003 FMD outbreaks, 358 088 head of cattle were vaccinated --
all within the "vaccination zone". The vaccine is produced by the
Botswana Vaccine Institute, which is OIE's Regional Reference
Laboratory for FMD, Africa.
A National Animal Health Status Report for 2004, submitted by
Botswana for the 16th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for
Africa in Khartoum (Sudan), 7-10 Feb 2005, included the following
FMD-related data pertaining to the recent epidemiological situation:
"FMDV in Botswana is restricted to the northern part of the country
where the 3 South African Territory serotypes (SAT I, II and III) are
maintained within the African Buffalo (_Syncerus caffer_)
populations. Before the 2002/2003 outbreaks, Botswana had been free
from FMD for over 21 years.
FMD control in Botswana is based on vaccination of cattle and
movement control of cloven-hoofed animals and animal products. To
that end, a system of zoning using disease control cordon fences has
been employed. The 2002/2003 FMD outbreaks were successfully
controlled through stamping out. Currently The World Animal Health
Organisation (OIE) recognizes Botswana as having zonal freedom from
FMD without vaccination".
ProMED-mail is very grateful to OIE's Animal Health Information
Department for making this updated information available. - Mod.AS]