Water Minister Abdullah Muammar announced yesterday that 10 cases of
foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) have been reported in Riyadh, Madinah and
the Eastern Province. He said eight cows and calves have been
slaughtered and their owners will be compensated.
Prince Naif, meanwhile, allayed public fears about the disease, saying
it does not affect humans. “But we have to protect our animals,”
he said, adding that FMD cases have now been found in several
He said the
ministerial committee under his chairmanship will do the needful to
contain the disease.
farmers and cattle owners to be more vigilant about FMD — a highly
contagious viral disease — and report suspected cases to the
government agencies as soon as possible. “There is no need for alarm
as government agencies in cooperation with cattle owners have taken
all necessary measures to prevent the disease,” he said.
According to farm
workers in the Eastern Province, several FMD cases have been
discovered at a farm in Sihat, near Dammam. They said several head of
cattle had died at the farmhouse in the past 24 hours and the
carcasses of the dead animals had been disposed off.
At the same
farmhouse the disease has infected a number of calves and cows. The
owner of the farm, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was
doing his best to prevent the disease from spreading. The Department
of Agriculture has taken necessary measures to contain the disease in
the province and has distributed vaccines to farm owners. They have
also taken steps to quarantine infected cattle.
“Livestock at all
farmhouses in the Kingdom will be vaccinated against the disease
regularly under the technical supervision of the ministry,” Muammar
said. He said his ministry was now conducting a countrywide survey to
find out if there were new FMD cases and take appropriate action.
But farm owners are
worried they will suffer huge losses due to the epidemic. Eastern
Province is one of the agricultural centers of the Kingdom. In areas
like Qatif, Sihat, Tarout and Ahsa, the prime occupation is
agriculture and farming.