EC Farmers must heighten biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of rabies

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform

The Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform needs to issue a public warning to farmers of the risks associated with the increasing spread of the rabies virus in the Eastern Cape.

There has been an alarming increase of positive rabies cases in the province, most notably in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and Alfred Nzo regions. The virus has also claimed several lives since the outbreak was first identified last year.

This virus can be passed between animals and to humans through saliva, and considering the seriousness of the disease, preventative measures should be put in place.

Therefore, farmers must take the necessary precautions and put biosecurity measures in place to ensure that the Rabies virus does not infect their livestock.

These measures should include ensuring fencing boundaries are secure, as rabies can be easily spread by free-roaming livestock.

I have written to The MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR), Nonkqubela Pieters, to request that her Department issue a public warning to inform Farmers of the risk.

I have also asked her to advise local municipalities to be on high alert and instruct them to impound all free-roaming pets and livestock to contain the disease.

It is critical that the province contains the spread of this disease, as the consequences of an unchecked rabies outbreak in the region could have dire repercussions for farmers and human life.