The Ministry of Health says the highly contagious and infectious viral disease which affects animals spilled over from neighboring Guinea. It said three districts – Kono in the east and Kambia and Tonkolili in the north have been affected so far. All three districts share border with Guinea and Liberia.
The government has instituted a ban on export of livestock from both neighboring countries. Officials also announced an imposition of restriction of movement of animals in the affected areas and people
into the affected cattle ranches.
A spokesman for the Health ministry was quoted saying they were working on dispatching health workers to the affected districts in an effort to contain the outbreak and prevent the virus from spreading beyond those areas.
“The importance of this to the humans is that it is potential economic losses for especially farmers because their animals will die,” said Harold Thomas, Communications Lead at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
Foot and Mouth is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for around 2-6 days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
The virus can spread easily through contacts and contaminated equipment in farms, vehicles, clothing, feed, as well as by domestic and wild predators. Cattle, sheep, goats and pigs are the most susceptible animals to the virus.