Brazil has isolated several counties in the south of the country where last year an outbreak of foot and mouth disease was reported.
The decision announced Friday, August 18, follows positive reactions to the virus in routine blood tests of cattle in the area of Mato Grosso do Sul, next to the Paraguayan border.
Although for the last months there have been no clinical suspicions or indications of FAM in Mato Grosso do Sul, "several head of cattle have reacted positive to the disease", admitted the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture in an official release.
Preventive sanitary isolation measures have been imposed in the counties of Eldorado, Japorá and Mundo Novo in the heart of Mato Grosso do Sul where last October 33 outbreaks of FAM were recorded in cattle.
Last year the Brazilian government isolated the whole area and proceeded to sacrifice 33.741 head of cattle. Following the outbreak report, fifty countries banned the import of beef from Brazil which has become the world’s main beef exporter. Later on some countries limited the ban to beef from Mato Grosso do Sul and the neighboring states of Paraná and São Paulo.
"The Ministry of Agriculture will intensify surveillance in the region and will make new blood tests to prove the absence of viral presence", before lifting the prevention measures.
Apparently routine blood tests in 9.947 head of cattle showed that 382, belonging to 55 farms in the isolated area proved positive. However 88% of the positive cases had been vaccinated twice against FAM.
The Animal Health Department from the Agriculture Ministry pointed out that 62% of farm owners where the cattle reacted positively had not vaccinated all animals as had been specifically requested by the federal government.
Last year and in spite of the ban, Brazil managed to remain as the world’s main exporter of beef.