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Case of foot and mouth disease confirmed in Bolivia

Sunday, January 28th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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A case of foot and mouth disease, FAM, was confirmed this week in the east of Bolivia, the first in the country in the last three years and a half. Bolivia has since banned all exports of beef to the Andean countries, reports the press in La Paz.

According to those reports the case was located in the municipality of Cuatro Cañadas, in the east of Santa Cruz province last Thursday following a routine check. A day later the administration of President Evo Morales banned all beef and dairy produce exports to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Bolivia's head of Animal Health and the National Service of Agriculture and Livestock Sanitation Ernesto Salas said that "unfortunately and automatically, all export licenses for beef and dairy produce have been suspended". The meat industry in Bolivia exports an estimated ten million US dollars annually. Salas revealed that coordinated actions have been agreed with sanitary authorities of neighboring countries to ensure the outbreak is clearly located and isolated, thus preventing FAM from spreading to the region. Bolivia has also cancelled its programmed request to the FAO International Epizooties Organization in Paris to declare Bolivian territory free of FAM with vaccination, since no cases had been reported in the last three and a half years. The president of the Bolivian farmers association George Prestel in an interview with the Santa Cruz press said that Bolivia had invested 30 million US dollars in recent years with the purpose of eradicating the disease. The FAM case in Bolivia comes just weeks after Mercosur countries begun implementing a coordinated regional anti FAM policy, including significant loans from a special fund to finance the fight against the disease which in some areas of the Bolivian heartland seems endemic. Mercosur which has become the world's leading exporter of beef is extremely sensitive to any outbreak or cases of FAM.

Categories: Health & Science, Mercosur.

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