Paraguay vaccinated 98% of its cattle herd against foot and mouth disease to ensure the normal flow of beef exports reported on Tuesday the government in the capital Asuncion.
"Vaccination emphasized on a 15 kilometers strip of land along the open northern border with Brazil", said Hugo Corrales, head of the country's Animal Health and Food Quality Department. Five hundred kilometers north from Asuncion, Paraguay shares with Brazil an open dry border of approximately 1.200 kilometers in the counties of Amambay and Kanindeyú neighboring with Matto Grosso do Sul. The area is famous for the constant crossing between both countries of people, vehicles and cattle, since checks are not very strict. Paraguay has also been accused by Argentina and Brazil of being behind recent outbreaks of FAM (earlier this decade), which rapidly extended to its neighbors causing major export problems for Buenos Aires and Brasilia. Paraguay blames Bolivia, where FAM is certain regions is endemic. In late 2006 Paraguay was declared free of FAM with vaccination by the regional Panaftosa Organization dependent from the Paris based International Office of Epizooties. This paved the way for record beef exports last year which reached 450 million US dollars becoming the second most important income of the country, behind soybeans shipments that in 2006 totaled 650 million US dollars.