he Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development has vaccinated 10 900 heads of cattle against foot and mouth disease in Mchinji District.
The department is set to vaccinate 17 777 heads of cattle at the end of the campaign.
The outbreak, which was first reported in Mlonyeni Extension Planning Area (EPA) in February this year, is said to have originated from Zambia after being traced back to Namibia.
Currently, the disease has spread to Zulu and Mkanda EPAs in Mchinji and Bukwe EPA in Lilongwe.
Speaking on Friday in Mchinji during a Technical Cooperation Programme Emergency Support for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease in Malawi workshop of stakeholders, the department’s deputy director responsible for field services Gilson Njunga said they wanted to sensetise people in the district to the outbreak of the disease.
He said the disease reported in the district was different from other types of foot and mouth diseases which the county has experienced before.
Njunga said the workshop also sought to empower frontline extension workers to trace how far the disease has spread.
“Fortunately, we now have the vaccines and we have covered all the affected areas. We have vaccinated 10 900 heads of cattle out of the targeted 17 777 animals at risk,” he said.
Food and Agriculture Organisation head of technical section in Malawi Yvonne Mmangisa, whose organisation funded the workshop along with the European Union, said they were concerned with the outbreak.
“Livestock production contributes food and livelihood alternatives to rural communities. We hope that this intervention will make the livestock sector resilient,” she said.
Foot and mouth disease mainly affects cattle, but can also affect other species such as sheep, goat and pigs.