Foot and Mouth Disease Spreads in Brazil, While Lula Says It’s Been Controlled

New outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul have been reported and 280 head of cattle have been sacrificed in a farm close to where the first cases were confirmed last week.

"Eight cows belonging to the Jangada ranch were suspected of having contracted FAM and thus the decision to sacrifice the whole herd of the property", reported João Cavallero, head of the federal Animal and Plant health agency in southwestern Mato Grosso to the local Campo Grande News.

Brazilian Agriculture Ministry officials, quoted by O Globo news agency, admitted that another six ranches in Mato Grosso do Sul, close to the Paraguayan border are in a list of suspected areas with FAM.

Five of them are located in the municipality of Japorã and another in neighboring Eldorado, where last week the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed.

Agriculture Ministry Food Safety Secretary, Gabriel Maciel, revealed that at least 6,000 animals will be destroyed to avoid the spread of the disease, which authorities fear would lead more countries to ban Brazilian beef.

Earlier Monday President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Brazil had adopted all the necessary measures to control a week-old foot-and-mouth outbreak.

"We adopted the measures that were needed. We are going to succeed in showing the world this administration’s efficiency will not allow an isolated case of foot-and-mouth disease to harm Brazil’s beef export industry", said President Lula on his weekly radio program which was broadcast from Europe.

Lula da Silva currently on an official visit to Italy and to participate in the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) sixtieth anniversary said he would talk to other world leaders to dispel fears about the FAM outbreak in Brazil.

"We have a FAM outbreak, but this outbreak has been perfectly isolated, we killed all the cattle affected and we implemented all necessary sanitary safety measures along our borders", stressed Mr. Lula da Silva.

The Brazilian president informed of the situation to Ibero-American leaders during the recent Salamanca summit and "I will deliver the same message to President Vladimir Putin when I visit Russia this Tuesday."

So far thirty European countries including Russia and the 25 members of the European Union have banned beef imports from Brazil, following last week’s FAM outbreak.

Mato Grosso do Sul is home of Brazil’s beef industry with some 25 million head of cattle. Brazil’s beef industry could lose up to US$ 1.5 billion in revenue over the next two years while exports are normalized.

Brazilian beef exports are programmed to reach US$ 3 billion in 2005 and in the first eight months of the year totaled US$ 2.2 billion.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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