Brazil tightens border against Bolivia foot-and-mouth

BRAZIL - Brazil will begin tightening its border with Bolivia, where foot-and-mouth broke out last week, to try to keep the disease from throwing its world-leading beef export sector back into chaos, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.
calendar icon 1 February 2007
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On Monday, Brazil said it suspended beef and dairy products imports after the disease cropped up in Bolivia's eastern province of Santa Cruz on Jan. 26. Argentina's food and animal health service Senasa said on Tuesday it had bolstered border checks with Bolivia.

The disease is tough to contain as wild deer or other cloven-hoofed animals can carry it across the 3,166 km (2,000 mile) border between Bolivia and Brazil's prime cattle region. Federal and state governments adjacent to Bolivia will beef up the check points on the border with health agents and police.

"The outbreak in Bolivia poses a serious threat to Brazil's beef industry," said Antonio Ernesto de Salvo, president of Brazil's National Confederation of Agriculture. "We need to police the dry borders with Bolivia and focus on eradicating foot-and-mouth there."

Over 50 countries that import beef from Brazil, the world's largest exporter, banned shipments after the highly contagious disease broke out in October 2005 in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders Bolivia, and Parana.

Almost a year and a half later, some of these countries are just now reopening to shipments of Brazilian beef.

Nearly all of Brazil's main cattle states are under a vaccination program to fend off the disease.

Source: Reuters
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