Mercosur and associate members Chile and Bolivia agreed on a five year plan to eradicate foot and mouth disease in the region with an aggressive immunization campaign and a strong epidemiologic control.
All beef exporting countries will be signing the agreement this Monday at ministerial level in Asuncion, Paraguay in the framework of the current 28th Mercosur presidential summit.
The Program “Mercosur with no FAM disease” is part of a 48 million US dollars hemispheric project for the eradication of FAM in all countries of the three Americas by the end of 2009.
The six countries of the Southern Cone of South America actually have the largest cattle rodeo in the world totalling 283 million heads. Brazil has an estimated 190 million; Argentina 60 million; Uruguay 12 million; Paraguay 9,5 million and the rest is divided between Chile and Bolivia.
However Chile is the only country in the region that has been declared free of FAM without vaccination by the International Epizooties Organization, based in Paris and dependent from FAO, while Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and certain regions of Brazil are free of FAM but with vaccination.
The vaccine costs 30 US cents and cattle must be inoculated twice a year. Costs are shared between the Fund and each country.
Epidemiologic control will mean strict monitoring of people and cargo moving between country members plus follow up of animal and vegetable produce traded in the area.
In 2000 the Southern Cone experienced an outbreak of FAM, which apparently began in Argentina or Paraguay and rapidly spread to Uruguay and Brazil.
Uruguay then lost its condition of free of FAM disease without vaccination which it shared with Chile.
Mercopress – www.mercopress.com