Foot and Mouth Disease Is Back in Brazil

Brazilian authorities confirmed Thursday, April 20, a new outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, close to the Paraguayan border.

A similar outbreak last October forced the termination of thousands of cattle in the region.

"The new case was identified on a ranch in the municipality of Japorá during routine checks carried out by the official veterinary service." the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry reported in a release.

Japorá, Eldorado and Mundo Novo, all in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, were placed under livestock quarantine last October following 21 outbreaks of FAM in the region, close to the border with Paraguay. At the time the sanitary rifle was applied to 33,741 head of cattle in an effort to contain the disease.

That FAM incident immediately prompted more than 50 countries to impose total or partial bans on beef imports from Brazil, mainly from Mato Grosso do Sul and neighboring Paraná state.

The Agriculture Ministry said that all 137 cows on the ranch where the latest outbreak was detected will be slaughtered, though only 10 animals show clinical symptoms of FAM. Another 22 had the virus detected in their bloodstream.

Authorities said they would intensify the precautionary measures already in place in the region to prevent the disease from spreading.

The ministry expressed concern that the latest outbreak of FAM will cause Brazil’s biggest beef customer, the European Union, to further delay lifting its ban on imports from Mato Grosso do Sul state.

Mato Grosso do Sul, has 25 million cattle and accounts for nearly half of Brazil’s beef exports.

Brazil is the world’s largest beef producer, with a herd of around 200 million cattle. Exports in 2005 were valued at a record 3 billion US dollars, up from the previous record of 2.3 billion in 2004.

Mercopress – www.mercopress.com

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