Rome, 22 March – Urgent action is required to control a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and prevent its spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, which could have serious implications for food security in the region, FAO warned today.
Foot-and-mouth disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs. It causes serious production losses and can be lethal, particularly to younger animals.
Meat and milk from sick animals are unsafe for consumption, not because FMD affects humans, but because foodstuffs entering the food chain should only come from animals that are known to be healthy. Foot-and-mouth disease is not a direct threat to humans.
In Egypt 40 222 cases of the disease are suspected, according to official estimates, and 4 658 animals, mostly calves, have already died.