Foot-and-mouth disease infections rises to more than 74,000, says agriculture ministry

The Agriculture Ministry’s daily report on the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak showed on Tuesday an increase in infections to 74,178 cases, with 15,800 fatal cases, despite confirmation by the ministry that the disease had started to decline due to warmer weather.

However, earlier reports from veterinary directorates across the country showed a decrease in the spread of foot-and-mouth disease cases on a daily basis, which has taken a toll on the country’s livestock in recent months.

Hussein Qaoud, head of Cairo University’s animal health department, said the General Authority for Veterinary Services is confused about the new strain of the disease, SAT 2, and that the authority is following the wrong procedures for fighting the disease.

On Monday, Suhair Abdel Qader, head of the Central Department for Therapeutic Medicine at the authority, said a new vaccine for the SAT 2 strain of the virus has been produced.

Qaoud added that the government lacks a clear strategy to face epidemics, and stressed the necessity of having a system for discovering diseases earlier.

He also accused the ministry of ignoring expert opinions to face the crisis and called on the government to enact strict procedures for disposing of dead animals.

Qaoud described the official reports as being opaque in how they showed the accurate numbers of infection and death cases.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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