An outbreak of food and mouth disease (FMD) has hit Egypt and could threaten North Africa and Middle East. Egypt officials have estimated 40,222 suspected cases of the foot and mouth disease and 4,658 animals, mostly calves, have already died.
UN agency put out a warning statement, “Urgent action is required to prevent its spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, which could have serious implications for food security in the region.” They added, “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, and livestock have no immune protection against it.”
Vaccines are needed for around 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and about 7.5 million sheep and goats in Egypt.
Foot and mouth is extremely infectious and can be fatal. It affects cloven-hoofed animals. According to Wikipedia, The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness. Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe plague for animal farming. Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions and quarantines, and occasionally the elimination of millions of animals.”
Juan Lubroth, FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer said, “We are working closely to support the Government to bring the outbreak under control. The area around the Lower Nile Delta appears to be severely affected, while other areas in Upper Egypt and the west appear less so.”
Farmers have been told to limit animal movement so livestock from other farms aren’t in contact with theirs. Also traders are being told to avoid buying animals at this time. Dead animals should be burned or buried.
While this strain of FMD is not a direct threat to humans, it’s unsafe to consume the meat and milk from sick animals.