Namibia detects new foot and mouth disease virus strain

Namibia has detected a new strain of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus Stereotype O in its northeast Zambezi region, official said Friday.

According to Agriculture Ministry Chief Veterinary Officer Albertina Shikongo, the new strain is more contagious adding that despite the high vaccination coverage at about 90 percent, new cases of the disease continues to be observed in vaccinated herds.

“This is the first time in history that the FMD virus stereotype O is being identified. The high infection rate caused by the new FMD stereotype O explains the poor response to the vaccination to this outbreak,” she said.

Shikongo said further investigations to establish the source of new strain is ongoing.

However, she added that “it is suspected the strain is a result of illegal cross border movement of cattle between Namibia’s Zambezi region and Zambia.”

Namibia has since declared four constituencies as infected areas while the entire Zambezi region has been declared as a disease management area while movement of cloven hoofed animals as well as potentially infectious commodities in and out of restricted areas has been banned.

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