Government to combat foot and mouth disease and high poultry prices

The Agriculture Ministry approved 11 measures to protect livestock in Egypt’s governorates from the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD).

FMD is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.

The new measures will include the burial of dead animals by local authorities instead of dumping them in canals and drains, the suspension of vaccination campaigns against the disease until the new strain is diagnosed, preventing livestock from mingling in gathering places, separating sick livestock from healthy ones and restricting the movement of livestock between governorates.

The government is also considering approving the importation of veterinary vaccines from abroad after diagnosing the new strain of the disease.

Security services in coordination with the veterinary medicine directorates began monitoring borders between governorates to prevent livestock crossings.

The head of the General Authority for Veterinary Services, Osama al-Salim, said the new measures would help limit the outbreak by at least 70 percent.

According to an official report, between 26 February and 5 March, 1,465 livestock were suspected to be infected with the disease, including 418 cases in Qalyubiya Governorate, 300 in Sohag, 200 in Gharbiya and 104 in Port Said. During the same period, 64 calves died.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Poultry Division announced a drop in local poultry production during the first quarter of this year by nearly 500,000 chickens a day, bringing the total daily chicken production to 1.1 million, as compared to 1.6 million last year. Daily consumption is 2.2 million chickens.

Meanwhile, poultry prices rose to LE14 per kilo as compared to LE12 on Tuesday, bringing consumer prices to LE18 pounds as compared to LE16.

Poultry Division head Abdel Aziz al-Sayyed said he expects poultry and fish prices to go up due to the high mortality incidence of livestock from FMD.

Translated by Al-Masry Al-Youm

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