Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465
BANDA, Frank et al. Investigation of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in the Mbala and Kazungula districts of Zambia. Onderstepoort j. vet. res. [online]. 2014, vol.81, n.2, pp.1-6. ISSN 2219-0635.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is an acute, highly contagious viral infection of domestic and wild cloven-hoofed animals. It is known to be endemic in Zambia, with periodic outbreaks occurring in different geographical areas of the country. This study was conducted to investigate the presence of FMD virus (FMDV) in reported FMD-suspected cases in cattle from the Kazungula and Mbala districts of Zambia. Sixty epithelial tissues or oesophageal- pharyngeal (OP) scrapings (probang samples) were collected from Mbala (n = 51) and Kazungula (n = 9) and examined for FMDV. The FMDV viral RNA and serotypes were examined by realtime reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and antigen Enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Twenty-two samples (36.7%) were positive for the FMDV genome by qRT-PCR with Cycle threshold (Ct) values ranging from 13 to 31. The FMDV-positive samples from epithelial tissues showed relatively higher Ct values compared to those obtained from OP scrapings, irrespective of geographical location. Forty percent (40%; n = 4) of epithelial tissues from Mbala were serotyped into SAT 2 serotype by antigen ELISA. Kazungula samples were serotyped into SAT 1. These findings indicated that Mbala and Kazungula districts had FMD outbreaks in 2012 that were ascribed to at least FMDV serotype SAT 2 and SAT 1 field strains. Furthermore, regular interaction between buffalos from the Mosi-o Tunya Park and domestic animals from surrounding areas could contribute to the occurrence of regular FMD outbreaks in Kazungula, whilst the uncontrolled animal movements across borders between Mbala and Nsumbawanga could be responsible for disease outbreaks in Mbala. In-depth molecular biological studies, including sequencing and phylogeny of the viruses, should be conducted to elucidate the complex epidemiology of FMD in Zambia, thereby providing valuable information needed for the rational control strategy of FMD in Zambia and neighbouring countries.