The Brazilian government confirmed Tuesday, October 18, three new outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which will demand the sacrifice of thousands of heads of cattle.
Since Brazil is the world’s leading beef exporter, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva currently on a European visit, which included Spain, Italy and Russia, is trying to convince his colleagues that the situation is "under control".
The first outbreak was reported last October 10 in the Vezozzo farm in the Mato Grosso do Sul county of Eldorado where an initial 582 cattle were destroyed.
However Tuesday the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture had to admit that three new FAM outbreaks were reported in the area, one of them in a neighboring farm to Vezozzo and the two others in the county of Japorã, just four kilometers from the Paraguayan border. Mato Grosso do Sul had no FAM reported cases since 1999.
Sanitary officials have already sacrificed 320 out of a total herd of 3.548 in Jangada the main farm FAM outbreak in Japorã.
"We plan to work under a permanent state of emergency," said the Agriculture Ministry’s Food Safety Secretary Gabriel Alves Maciel.
The new FAM cases constitute a major blow for Brazil since 30 countries have banned beef imports, which could represent losses of almost 1,5 billion US dollars, according to the Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Federation.
The Brazilian government is extending the quarantine area to include other counties clustering the original Eldorado where it all started.
Authorities are also investigating the source of the outbreak with prime suspects livestock imports from neighboring Paraguay without the necessary health controls or simply smuggled in; a breakdown in the vaccination system or the purchase of sick cattle from a Landless Movement MST camp in the area.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, currently on a state visit to Moscow, is trying to convince Russia that the disease is under control.
This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.