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Temporary measures at EU-level to mitigate risk of Libya FMD spreading.

by 5m Editor
3 July 2003, at 12:00am

EU - Following notification by Libya of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the EC yesterday adopted temporary measures to prevent the possible spread of the virus into the EU via livestock transport vehicles.

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FMD is one of the most contagious viral diseases of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and though it is not harmful to human health, it can have devastating economic consequences.

The EU does not allow imports of live animals or animal products of species susceptible to FMD from countries in North Africa. However, since the virus can survive in a contaminated environment for several weeks, there is concern that vehicles having unloaded susceptible livestock, or returning registered horses from Libya, might potentially be contaminated by the virus.

The precautionary measures decided today therefore specify the conditions for reinforced controls of cleansing and disinfection of animal transport vehicles on arrival to the EU.

The measures were decided in agreement with the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, representing the veterinary services of the EU Member States.

The last outbreak of FMD in Libya was reported in 1994. The current outbreak is the first ever recorded outbreak of this particular serotype north of the Sahara.

The competent authorities in Libya have taken measures to contain the disease, but the significant delay between the first suspect case on 1 May 2003 and the confirmation of the disease on 18 June 2003 means that a spread of the disease to neighbouring countries cannot be fully excluded. These measures may therefore be extended to cover additional countries.

Source: European Commission - 2nd July 2003

5m Editor