FMD outbreak impacts livestock sector

FMD outbreak impacts livestock sector - EGYPT, Cairo. In 2012, the calf crop is forecast to decrease by 18 percent to 1,402 thousand head compared to 1,708 thousand head in 2011 due to the spread of the "SAT2" strain of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMDV-SAT2).

By mid-March 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) has announced that the number of infected cases was 33,000 and the mortality was 5,400 head, a mortality rate of 16.4%, which is very high for FMD. The mortality rate is expected to increase, especially among calves and in small farms, since SAT2 is newly introduced to Egypt and there is no herd immunity or previous vaccination effort.

Regionally, SAT2 first had an outbreak in Libya in 2009. The number of suspected cases is growing at a rate of 5,000 per day while the number of deaths is growing at 500 head per day. It is expected that the main impacts of the FMD outbreak will be on the calf crop of small farmers and on the slaughter weight of market cattle. Losses of older cattle will also be significant. FMD impacts both the cattle and buffalo populations, but the effect is normally more severe on cattle.

FMD generally has a greater impact on small farmers because they have less access to vaccines and veterinary treatment. Egypt has mobilized 1,500 veterinary teams and is attempting to purchase SAT2 vaccine to deal with the outbreak.

In 2006, Egypt experienced a major FMD outbreak resulting in the loss of nearly one million head of cattle. If the SAT2 strain continues with the same increasing mortality rates and there are no vaccinations, the impact will be as high or higher than what it was in 2006. The disease has already been detected in 24 of 27 governorates.

MALR has approved a number of measures in order to protect livestock from the current outbreak. The measures include the application of emergency quarantine including the sanitized burial of the dead animals by veterinary services personnel, small-scale breeders to ban the
transfer of live cattle between governorates and closing all live cattle markets on a temporary basis, separation of infected cattle from sound cattle, prevent suckling calves from contact with infected mothers and rapid reporting of suspected cases.

However, the lack of awareness among farmers and small-scale breeders (many are not reporting their infected animals while others are throwing the bodies of the dead animals in the streets and in the small canals), the delayed availability of appropriate vaccines, and the current windy climatic conditions (FMD is windborne) will hinder the government's efforts to control the outbreak.
Source: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service