WINDHOEK, 22 MAY – Imports of livestock from the Free State Province in South Africa have been suspended due to an outbreak of Rift Valley fever there, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has announced.
A statement issued by the MAWF’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Milton Maseke on Monday said the import and in transit movement of cattle, sheep, goats and wild ruminants had been suspended as of 14 April 2018.
Rift Valley fever is a mosquito-transmitted viral disease that affects livestock and can also cause illness in human beings.
Maseke said all previously issued import and in transit permits have been cancelled and recalled with immediate effect.
He added that the incubation period of the disease was 14 days as set by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Major outbreaks of the disease are usually associated with heavy rainfall and localised flooding.
The symptoms in affected animals include non-movement or feeding as well as abdominal pain, while young animals may die within 36 hours of the onset of the symptoms.
Some animals also vomit and may have bloody diarrhoea and blood-stained mucopurulent nasal discharge.
“Signs of the disease in humans include sudden onset flu-like fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and haemorrhagic fever,” Maseke said.
Transmission to humans can occur through direct or indirect contact with infected blood or organs of animals; from bites of infected mosquitoes; or ingestion of unpasteurised or uncooked milk of infected animals.
People working in animal slaughtering facilities, laboratories and hospitals are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease, the statement said.