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Improving foot-and-mouth disease control using livestock movement patterns within the FMD protection zone of South Africa
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  • David Lazarus,
  • Pamela Opperman,
  • Mohamed Sirdar,
  • Tanja Wolf,
  • Ilana van Wyk,
  • Oupa Rikhotso
David Lazarus
University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science
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Pamela Opperman
Agriculture Research Council, Onderstepoort Veterinary Research
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Mohamed Sirdar
Agriculture Research Council, Onderstepoort Veterinary Research
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Tanja Wolf
University of Pretoria Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
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Ilana van Wyk
University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science
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Oupa Rikhotso
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
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Abstract

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a transboundary animal disease that has a major impact on livestock production, regional and international trade and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in endemic settings. Livestock movement is one of the most important ways of spreading infectious diseases including FMD. Many livestock diseases are transmitted through direct contact between animals, and thus between herds and flocks through animal movements. In this study, we described the pattern of livestock movements among smallholder farmers within a communal farming area in South Africa. A cross-sectional survey using a semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 116 respondents, and 13 focus group discussions employing participatory mapping and semi-structured interviews were conducted among smallholder goat farmers. Data from the study reported 37 nodes and 78 ties with an overall network density of 0.059 (SD 0.235) for goats, and 42 nodes and 90 ties with an overall network density of 0.052 (SD 0.223) for cattle across the study area. The study identified several FMD high-risk locations to prioritise vaccination programmes and targeted disease surveillance. Four locations within the (former) FMD-free zone of the country were identified to have connections with movement of goats from the study area. Findings from this study further demonstrated that goats are moved without official movement permits to the FMD free zone of the country, with most farmers being ignorant of the need to obtain official veterinary movement permits. These animal movements put the country at risk of future FMD outbreaks within the free zone. We recommend that the relevant authorities implement risk-based control measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

15 Aug 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
17 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
17 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
24 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned