Gulf States Impose Meat Bans to Guard against Rift Valley Fever
Gulf Arab states imposed meat import bans on Saturday to guard against the spread of Rift Valley Fever which has claimed dozens of lives in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The Emirati health ministry slapped a ban on meat imported from Yemen as well as from the African states of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, the official news agency WAM reported.
Oman also temporarily halted meat imports from Yemen and East Africa, while the Qatari health ministry said its ban would apply to meat from countries affected by the disease.
Ninety-two people have died in Yemen of Rift Valley Fever, an agriculture ministry official in Sanaa said Friday, while Saudi newspapers said the disease had taken 21 lives in the kingdom since September 11.
It is the first time that the disease, which affects domestic animals and can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, has been known to strike outside Africa.
Symptoms include hemorrhagic fever, encephalitis and eye problems, although human deaths from the disease are rare, according to experts.
The Saudi agriculture ministry announced on September 18 that it had suspended livestock imports from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which are all on the Red Sea.
Yemen has also decided to ban imports of livestock from Africa, the official Yemeni news agency SABA said Saturday -- RIYADH (AFP)
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