A major outbreak foot-and-mouth disease has engulfed Egypt wherein some 40,222 suspected cases of the disease have been reported by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Reports say the disease may spread North Africa and the Middle East, jeopardizing food security in the region.
FAO reports 4,658 animals, mostly calves have died.
According to the FAO’s livestock census data, 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats in Egypt could be at risk.
FAO says an urgent action is needed to control a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Egypt and prevent its spread.
FAO cites that although foot-and-mouth disease has circulated in the country for some years, this is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as “SAT2” for which the country’s livestock have no immunity.
At the request of the Egyptian Government, a FAO emergency team visited the country last week to assess the situation together with local veterinary authorities.
A joint disease containment strategy was drawn up focussing on limiting the spread through various measures, including vaccination. Other measures also include limiting animal movements and avoiding contact with animals from other farms; avoiding purchasing animals in the immediate term since they could have come from contaminated sources, preferably by burning carcasses.
“We are working closely to support the Government to bring the outbreak under control.” – FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth
On March 2011, outbreaks have been reported in eight of the 13 provinces in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has a livestock population of about 577,000 cattle, 2.2 million pigs and 3.5 million goats.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is highly contagious and affects cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs and other cloven-hoofed animals.
FMD does not pose a direct health threat to humans, but affected animals become too weak to be used to plough the soil or reap harvests, suffer significant weight loss, and produce less milk. Many animals are dying from the highly contagious disease, which affects cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, swine and other cloven-hoofed animals and spreads through body fluids that can contaminate clothing, crates, truck beds and hay.