UN: Egypt's foot-and-mouth outbreak threatens region
A major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among Egyptian livestock could spread to other parts of North Africa and the Middle East, threatening food security, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned Thursday dpa reproted
Over 40,000 animals have been infected, according to official estimates, while 4,658 animals, mostly calves, have already died, the Rome-based FAO said.
The FAO warned that 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats are at risk in Egypt.
"Although foot-and-mouth disease has circulated in the country for some years, this is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as SAT2, and livestock have no immune protection against it," the FAO said.
Vaccines are urgently needed and international and regional organizations are at the ready to assist in developing a regional prevention, preparedness and action plan, FAO said.
Foot-and-mouth disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs. It causes serious production losses and can be lethal, particularly to younger animals.
The virus that causes foot-and-mouth passes rapidly between animals through airborne droplets and normal contact, but humans in close contact with animals can transport it too, via the soles of shoes, or on their hands or clothing.
Foot-and-mouth disease is not a direct threat to humans.