Foot-and-mouth disease is known to be a highly infectious animal disease mainly causing death of young animals through inflammation of the heart muscle. It can infect cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and antelope.
According to the spokesman for the agriculture department if an outbreak was allowed to spread, it would pose a serious risk to the country's herds and wildlife.
However he said that the outbreak detected near Punda Maria was within the vaccination area of the foot-and-mouth disease buffer zone next to the Kruger Park and thereby posed no danger to herds further afield.
At present the outbreak in the buffer zone has not affected South Africa's status as a foot - and - mouth disease-free zone, or its export status. International Office of Epizootics has received report of the outbreak.
A general outbreak would result in a ban on all South African meat products from its export markets proving disastrous for the local industry.
Strict movement control and vaccination by the department is expected to control the outbreak. Strict and permanent control measures are in place in SA to detect outbreaks early and prevent spread of the disease.
The agriculture spokesman has stated that in this case the outbreak was transmitted by buffalo in an area shared with cattle.