Stemming foot, mouth diseases needs effective vaccination

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STAFF REPORT KHI: Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) is endemic and widespread throughout Pakistan, which was once very high across the world, however, better control of this disease in Pakistan can help the local farmers not only improve their own production, but also potentially export and help feed a hungry world.

“Studies suggest that 35-50 per cent of all animals are exposed to the virus by the time they reach one year of age,” said Dr David Ashford, an Animal Health Attaché at the US Embassy in Islamabad. Ashford has worked in the field of veterinary medicine and infectious disease control since 1986.

He said that without widespread annual vaccinations, inspection and control of the movement of live animals and animal products, animal health certification, and a strong and well-supported public veterinary service within Pakistan, FMD remains and will remain endemic.

“In the case of FMD, there may be a need to expand vaccination and inspection teams – not just of doctors and experts, but of para-vets and technical staff to vaccinate and inspect animals as they move around Pakistan,” Ashford says.

Pakistan is the worlds fourth largest milk producer, which may be an important source of food not only for Pakistanis but also for the rest of the world. however, the presence of FMD in Pakistan currently prohibits the exportation of this food.

Export of animals from any country in which the virus exists can potentially lead to outbreaks in other countries. That is why regional strategies for control and international cooperation are an essential component to success.


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