KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is taking every precaution to prevent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that grapples neighbouring Indonesia from spreading to Sabah.
Deputy Chief Minster Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan in a statement here today said that Sabah has been declared FMD free, a status recognised internationally by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) since 2005.
FMD is a highly contagious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs.
“Sabah is currently already fighting African Swine Fever (ASF). The FMD must be avoided at all costs.
“As a result, the ministry has taken urgent measures to make it mandatory for all veterinary offices throughout Sabah to carry out rigorous medical inspections on all types of livestock to be transported to other districts,” he said.
Kitingan who is also the minister of Agriculture and Fisheries said his ministry also requires that all livestock movement to other districts must be documented using movement forms/certificates issued by the DVS Sabah with livestock health condition properly and clearly stated.
The forms/certificates can be obtained from DVS district offices.
The ministry would also advise farmers to impose strict bio-security requirements on all livestock farms such as installing vehicle sprayer, quarantining foreign workers particularly those from neighbouring Indonesia before allowing them to return to work, and prohibiting outside visitors from entering their farms.
“At this time, do not bring in additional livestock or meat products supplied from neighbouring countries with FMD cases into your farms,” said Kitingan.
Meanwhile, DVS Sabah Director Dr Normah Yusop advised breeders to be on the lookout for FMD symptoms in their livestock.
The disease is characterised by high fever that declines rapidly after two to three days, blisters inside the mouth that lead to excessive secretion of stringy or foamy saliva and to drooling, and blisters on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
“If you noticed any of these symptoms in your livestock, please contact DVS immediately. We need to contain this infection because it has the potential to wipe out our modest livestock industry,” she warned.