Syria, where no foot-and-mouth outbreak has yet been detected, banned livestock imports as well as derivative products from countries where the disease has been reported, the health ministry said Tuesday, March 20.
"Preventive measures include a ban on livestock and meat products imports from all countries where the disease broke out, and stepped up border controls", said Hassan Alul, director of health at the Syrian ministry of agriculture.
"Livestock in Syria has not been affected by any disease thanks to constant vaccination" campaigns, Alul told the official SANA agency, adding that 900,000 cattle and most sheep have already been vaccinated.
The agriculture ministry official added Syria had sent vaccine doses to Lebanon recently, to protect flocks near the border.
The highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease is spreading rapidly in Britain and several Middle East countries have been hit, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
Lebanon loses at least $15 million each year because of the disease, which sporadically affects its livestock. — (AFP, Damascus)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )