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10 FMD cases reported in Kingdom
Riyadh,Dammam,19th March 2001

Agriculture and 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.

Interior Minister 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 countries.

He said the ministerial committee under his chairmanship will do the needful to contain the disease.

Muammar urged 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.




Source: Arab News

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19 March 2001 04:50:06 PM

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