New FMD strain in Egypt; 100.000 cattle infected, no vaccine for SAT2
A new strain of Foot and Mouth Disease, known as SAT2, has broken out in Egypt and is threatening to spread to other areas of northern Africa and the Middle East.
Already there are almost 100.000 suspected cases of the disease in Egypt and 9.000 animals, mostly calves, have died.
Essam Abdel Shakur, the head of Egypt's central quarantine service, told the local media that 93.734 head of cattle are believed to have been hit by the disease since February, of which 9.022 had died.
The Egyptian Government is restricting the movement of livestock from the areas most affected, and the scientific community is working around the clock to develop enough vaccine.
Jan Slingenbergh from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, says finding the right vaccine and stopping the spread is proving very difficult.
The SAT2 virus which is currently causing most of the disease problem is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg, he said.
Perhaps there are other viruses circulating that we are not yet aware of, and we think there is only one virus that is causing all of the problems but it could be a composite.
So we really have to know what's happening and what's going on in epidemiological terms, which is the absolute priority, otherwise it's not possible to come up with a strategic and realistic approach to contain the problem”.