New strain of foot and mouth spreads to Gaza Strip

By REUTERS
May 2, 2012 16:58

 
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ROME - A new strain of foot and mouth disease (FMD) has reached the Gaza Strip and threatens to spread further after first being detected in Egypt and Libya in February, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday.

FAO said sick animals had been detected on April 19 in Rafah, a town that lies on the border between the coastal Palestinian territory and Egypt.

FMD is a highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs. It is not a direct threat to humans.

An official in Gaza's ministry of agriculture said farmers had received 20,000 doses of vaccine to fight the disease and played down the seriousness of the outbreak.

"The problem surfaced at one farm in Rafah and we isolated the farm and stopped the movement of animals across Gaza," Adel Attalah told Reuters.


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