Foot-and-mouth, the incurable cattle disease, which has paralyzed parts of Western Europe and has found its way to Argentina and Brazil, is now being reported in Gulf states.
Ten cases of foot and mouth disease have been detected in different parts of Saudi Arabia, Agriculture Minister Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz told the official SPA news agency Sunday, March 10. Eight cows and calves had reportedly been slaughtered where cases were discovered in the regions of Riyadh, Medina and the eastern part of the country.
According to Saeed Al-Ragabani, the UAE agriculture and fisheries minister, eight cows imported to the country were found to be suffering from the disease. However, according to press reports Sunday, more than 150 cattle suffering from the disease have been slaughtered throughout the UAE.
Foot-and-mouth disease has long been a major constraint to intensive livestock production in the Middle East, and in spite of vaccinations—twice or even three times a year—the disease has caused serious economic losses in some of the large dairy herds in the area.
Kuwait maintains that within its boundries no cases have yet been reported.
In 1999, Type O outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease were reported in Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Type A outbreaks were reported from Georgia, Iran and Turkey
In a related development, the European Union food safety commissioner, David Byrne, was critical of countries that had taken "unnecessary and excessive" measures in protecting themselves from the spread of the disease. Among the countries mentioned were Morocco and Tunisia, which imposed a ban on the import of grain from EU member nations. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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