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Fears of another foot and mouth disease outbreak in Paraguay

Monday, January 2nd 2012 - 20:39 UTC
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Daniel Rojas head of Paraguay’s Animal Health and Food Quality Service Daniel Rojas head of Paraguay’s Animal Health and Food Quality Service

Paraguay’ Livestock Sanitary Office has confirmed the isolation of a cattle farm in the north of the country where an apparent outbreak of foot and mouth disease has been reported. The farm is approximately 35 kilometres from the outbreak reported last September.

Daniel Rojas head of Paraguay’s Animal health and food quality service, Senacasa, said on Monday after meeting with President Fernando Lugo that 23 blood samples are currently being tested and results should be known in coming hours.

However Rojas states that the farmer “allegedly has committed some irregularities with the FMD vaccination because he declared a greater number of head of cattle than what he really has. There is an inconsistency in the number of animals effectively vaccinated”.

Rojas said that Senacasa vets and staff were already at the reported farm to confirm the isolation of the area and begin culling animals once the lab tests are known whether it is positive or not.

“We have also decided the intervention of the National Animal Health Commission because of the absence of a registry of vaccinations; there’s an evident inefficiency in the vaccination process that we have always questioned”.

Paraguayan government sources said that President Lugo was extremely concerned with the situation and was planning to call an urgent meeting of the emergency cabinet.

When the September outbreak, Paraguay was forced to suspend beef exports, which together with soybeans are the main income sources of the country, plus terminating over 800 livestock from the farm where FMD was detected.

Rojas added that if the outbreak proves to be effectively FMD, “we will have to isolate much of the northern counties and wait to see what our beef clients’ reaction”.

The new outbreak occurs just two weeks after president Lugo lifted the sanitary emergency in the San Pedro county, declared last September 19.

Apparently the first FMD symptoms were detected two weeks ago and a total of 170 head of cattle could be suffering the disease.

Gustavo Trugger insists he complied with all the anti FMD vaccination procedure and anticipated that if an outbreak is confirmed he will demand compensation as happened with the farm of Silfrido Baumgarten, where the September outbreak was detected, and who also happens to be the president of the San Pedro Livestock farmers association.

“If my cattle has FMD, it means the vaccines failed and I will sue for compensation”, said Trugger.

Paraguayan animal sanitary officials admitted that the whole vaccination strategy is under review and will be reformed.


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