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Mercosur helps Bolivia combat FAM outbreaks

06 February 2007

BOLIVIA - Several Mercosur members have offered Bolivia to “unite efforts” and help control “as soon as possible” the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Bolivia declared last week a “state of emergency” following the confirmation of outbreaks in three counties in Santa Cruz province.

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay acting under the Southern Agriculture Council also underlined that vaccination against FAM is “the valid instrument to control the disease and a necessary but sufficient condition for the reopening of markets”.

Bolivia’s Animal Health and Food Quality department declared the three counties under quarantine and ordered the revaccination of 40.000 head of cattle.

The 17 reported cases of FAM, including five hogs “will not be sacrificed, but re-vaccinated”, said Bolivia’s Rural and Agriculture Development Deputy Secretary Javier Escalante who anticipated that in three weeks time he expects the “emergency to be lifted” with the help from Argentine and Brazilian experts.

The Southern Agriculture Council has made it a point that since “FAM is not a disease that affects human beings it can be considered a commercial disease which acts as a trade barrier or sanitary impediment to limit the access of beef from South American countries to world markets”.

Since the creation of the special group, “issues related to animal health and innocuous farm foods are a priority with the final objective of proving that our region produces healthy food”, says a release from the Agriculture and Livestock ministers of the five countries, adding that “we’ve underlined the importance of developing effectives instruments to eradicate FAM from the region”, thus ensuring that Mercosur can be declared an area “free of foot and mouth disease”.

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Source: Merco Press


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