All livestock auctions in Mpumalanga had been suspended as Foot and Mouth Disease had taken hold in the province. Severe restrictions on meat and wool restrictions are in place and neighbouring countries had banned any meat from South Africa. Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious virus disease of animals. It is one of the most serious livestock diseases. It affects cloven-hoofed animals (those with divided hoofs), including cattle, buffalo, camels, sheep, goats, deer and pigs.
The Freedom Front Plus, in a media statement, bemoaned the fact that little had been done to halt this disease. It maintains that millions of Rand is lost as a result of it and that foreign trade is already severely affected. According to the party, many more people in the province with one of the two highest unemployed residents in South Africa, would lose their jobs as farmers lose income.
The FF Plus had now requested that urgent measures should be taken to contain the disease.
Are people at risk from foot and mouth?
Not from the disease itself. If foot and mouth infects a human (an incredibly rare event) symptoms are : flu-like symptoms and blisters, which are not serious. But there is concern that high levels of carcinogenic dioxins may be emitted from animal pyres in the affected areas.
How does the disease infect humans?
People can be infected through skin wounds or by handling diseased stock. According to the Guardian in the UK, a slaughter man involved in a culling operation in Cumbria could become the first human to be contaminated.
Can it be spread through food?
You can catch foot and mouth by drinking infected milk from cows with the disease but not by eating infected meat.