Foot and Mouth hits Mzimba

Cattle at a ranch in Malawi

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has issued a confirmation of Foot and Mouth disease in Mzimba district.

The department has said they received a report of the outbreak on February 25 this year at Zione village in Champhira Extension Planning Area and the disease has since spread to Jenda Trading Centre, Manyamula and Edingeni.

According to the ministry, preliminary investigations by veterinary officials indicate that 284 clinical cases out of total of 5,080 cattle in the affected kholas.

The department has said around 80,000 cattle are at risk of contracting the disease within the immediate are and within surrounding areas. 

Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule Phiri in a statement has said government has issued a ban on all livestock slaughter and suspension of livestock market in Mzimba.

Phiri said government has also instituted a ban on issuance of livestock permits and restrictions on livestock products movements.

The statement further said there will be increased sensitization of affected communities on the disease.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that mostly attacks cattle.

The ministry has said it is currently working around the clock to contain the disease and said they will provide regular updates on the situation. 

Cattle is one of the most reliable source of income for people in Mzimba and the ministry is asking for cooperation from livestock farmers in the district and the general public in the implementation of the measures.