France confirms first case of foot and mouth disease

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Mar 13, 2001 - 12:41 PM

France Confirms Its First Case of Foot-and-Mouth Disease

By Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer

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PARIS (AP) - Foot-and-mouth disease has spread to continental Europe, with France announcing its first case of the highly contagious livestock ailment on Tuesday.

French officials set up a 1 1/2-mile security perimeter, limiting access to the farm in the Mayenne region, and a further "surveillance perimeter" of six miles. And the European Union veterinary panel on Tuesday recommended a ban on the export of French livestock, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other species at risk from the disease.

Mainland Europe has been taking drastic steps in an attempt to prevent the disease from crossing the Channel from Britain, where the outbreak discovered Feb. 19 has severely hurt the livestock industry.

Though the disease is not dangerous to humans, an outbreak on the continent would be another economic problem for an industry suffering from plummeting beef sales and consumer panic.

Foot-and-mouth disease strikes cloven-hoofed animals, and in those it does not kill it reduces the production of milk and meat. Its danger is heightened by the ease of its transmission: The virus can be carried for miles by the wind, people or cars, or spread by contaminated hay, water and manure.

The origin of the afflicted cows in France was not immediately clear. The ministry said they belonged to a farm that is near one that imported British sheep in February.

The ministry said tests had confirmed the cases in the cows from a herd of 114 cattle on the farm. All 114 cows were destroyed, it said, and their carcasses were to be incinerated.

This first case "justifies all the draconian measures that we have taken over the past 15 days," Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany said on French radio. "I fear that there are other cases and, at the same time, I'm doing everything to limit (the disease's spread) as much as possible," Glavany said.

Veterinary officials had a "strong suspicion" Monday that the farm was infected, the ministry said. Overnight analysis of tests by France's food safety agency, AFSSA, confirmed it, the ministry said.

Belgium announced an immediate ban on hoofed animals from France and the Dutch government prohibited all transports of cattle, pigs and goats in the country. The German government advised travelers not to bring food back from France.

Britain halted dairy, meat and livestock exports shortly after the first case of foot-and-mouth was confirmed. More than 150,000 livestock have been destroyed or earmarked for slaughter. Five new outbreaks were confirmed Tuesday, bringing the total number of infected areas to 188.

Movement by people in the countryside has also been discouraged, and those who travel to rural areas are being asked to walk through troughs of disinfectant. The head of Britain's biggest farming group said after meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday that new measures aimed at quelling the outbreak would be announced in the next two days.

National Farmers' Union president Ben Gill did not specify what new measures were planned.

After tests on nine herds in France raised suspicions of the disease, France moved Monday to virtually shut down its livestock business, barring the export of animals at risk for 15 days and banning all movement of such animals inside the country, except those being taken to slaughterhouses. Horses were also banned from traveling inside France.

The government had already decided to kill 20,000 imported sheep and 30,000 French sheep that had been in contact with the British animals.

Germany, meanwhile, said it was still free of foot-and-mouth disease Tuesday, after tests on suspect animals from a farm showed no trace. The farm at Damme, in Lower Saxony state, was sealed off after symptoms similar to those of the highly contagious disease were detected among 99 calves. The animals were slaughtered Sunday. An official from the state Agriculture Ministry said subsequent tests proved negative.

AP-ES-03-13-01 1241EST Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Brought to you by the Tampa Bay Online Network.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), March 13, 2001

Answers

Nando Times

Argentina confirms case of foot-and-mouth disease

By KEVIN GRAY, Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (March 13, 2001 8:15 p.m. EST) - Officials in Argentina, the world's fourth-largest beef-producing nation, on Tuesday confirmed at least one case of foot-and-mouth disease in its northwest region.

A statement from SENASA, the country's agricultural sanitation agency, said the case in one cow had been found in a remote part of Buenos Aires province, a popular cattle grazing area in the Pampas region, some 250 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.

The announcement came shortly after European Union veterinary experts decided to ban imports of livestock and dairy products from Argentina, citing rumors of "outbreaks in large parts of the country." SENASA said it was also investigating "various" claims by farmers in other regions of the country, but did not say how many.

The United States, Canada and Chile - all among the biggest buyers of Argentine beef - introduced similar bans on Tuesday. In an effort to show its serious approach to the problem, Argentina formally pre-empted those bans earlier in the day by deciding to voluntary restrict beef exports to certain markets.

Last month, Argentina announced a $22 million dollar plan to vaccinate cattle herds against foot-and-mouth disease after media reports of possible cases in the countryside. The plan included vaccination of some 12 million cattle plus the heavy restriction of herd movements.

Earlier Tuesday, the EU panel recommended a ban on the export of livestock from France, where the first confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease were confirmed on the continent following an outbreak last month in Britain.

For Argentina, the news comes as the country is grappling with a grinding 32-month recession. As mad cow and foot-and-mouth concerns swept Europe in recent months, Argentine farmers had hoped to increase exports there.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), March 13, 2001.


BB C

Tuesday, 13 March, 2001, 20:28 GMT Disease total tops 200

Maff remain convinced the outbreak is under control The government has insisted the foot-and-mouth outbreak is under control despite the total number of UK cases reaching 205.

(snip)

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), March 13, 2001.


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