MIDLANDS, Monday, November 18, 1991 — The Department of Veterinary Services in the Midlands province will today launch a massive testing for the foot and mouth virus at farms in the Gwenoro area of Gweru district, which was hard hit during an outbreak of the disease in 1989.
Animals at these farms have been in quarantine since the outbreak of the disease in the province in 1989. The testing, which will reportedly cost about $100 000 is being conducted following a fresh outbreak of the disease at Whaddon Chase Farm in Mvurwi, in Mashonaland Central Province.
Following the outbreak, Zimbabwe suspended the multi-million dollar exports to Europe. A Mvurwi farmer is said to have bought cattle from Midlands province and these cattle are suspected to have been carriers of the virus. Mr Dave Ingle, who is responsible for the cattle section at Gweru agricultural shows, and also one of the farmers who was hard hit by the outbreak in the Gwenoro area, said farmers in the are had been advised by the veterinary department that fresh tests for the foot and mouth virus will be conducted in the area as from today.
He said the tests involved the collection of samples through throat scraping. Mr Ingle said the samples will be sent to the United Kingdom for tests. He, however, said there were no signs that some cattle in the area still had the foot and mouth virus.
“In the event of some beasts testing positive for the virus, I am confident that the farmers will be more than willing to get rid of them as they would not like to see another outbreak of the disease”, said Mr Ingle who lost about $200 000 as a result of the 1989 outbreak.
He said farmers in the Gwenoro area believe that the virus was brought to their farms by wild pigs which often came to the cattle pens at night to feed along with the cattle.