Important facts you should know about
Foot and Mouth Disease
Act, 1984 (Act No. 35 of 1984).
FMD is caused by a virus, which only affects cloven-hoofed animals e.g. cattle, sheep, goats and
pigs and cloven-hoofed wildlife such as buffalo and antelope. People do not get FMD.
FMD causes fever, which is followed by the development of blisters chiefly in the mouth and
feet. Therefore, animals may stop eating and become lame.
It spreads rapidly if not controlled and can be transmitted by contact with infected animals or
their products as well as by people or equipment, including vehicles, tools, gloves, clothes and
ropes that have been in contact with FMD infected animals.
It is a herd disease. Therefore, if one animal in the herd is infected; the whole herd must be
considered as potentially infected.
FMD has a severe negative impact on the economy of the country as it affects international and
local trade in animals, animal products and related products such as feed and trophies.
Certain areas of South Africa have been legislated as the FMD controlled areas an area where
control measures such as vaccination and movement control are implemented. Please contact
your local state veterinarian, Animal Health Technician or Extension Officer to find out if your
animals are within the FMD controlled area and what control measures you must adhere to.
All owners, managers and persons working with cloven hoofed animals must be vigilant and use
good biosecurity practices to keep their herds safe.
If you think your animals may have FMD, please inform your Animal Health Technician, Extension
Officer or State Veterinarian immediately. Do not move any animals from the property until the
State Veterinarian has confirmed the animals do not have FMD.
In the event of an outbreak, different control measures may be proclaimed by the Director
Animal Health and this normally includes, but is not limited to: quarantine, movement control
of animals and animal products and vaccination.
Owners are responsible for the health of their animals and may be prosecuted under the Animal
Disease Act, 1984 (Act No. 35 of 1984) and the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (Act No. 68 of
2008) if they propagate the spread of FMD.