than 4,000 cases of foot and mouth disease are believed to have broken
out in Saudi Arabia, but only 15 per cent of the cases have been
reported to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, said a senior
official in the ministry yesterday. The disease has started to break
out rapidly from the beginning of this month, especially among
Farm owners do not report the cases they discover because they think
that the authorities will also slaughter healthy animals along with
those infected to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
They resort instead to veterinarians to vaccinate their animals, the
official who preferred anonymity, said. The disease has been detected
in all regions in Saudi Arabia and though there are no accurate
statistics of the infected cases, there are signs that the disease is
spreading quickly, he said.
The official expressed his deep concern over the possibility of the
spread of the disease in dairy farms. There are big dairy farms such
as Al Safi, which has over 20,000 cows. He noted that the spread of
the disease on such a farm will adversely affect the supply of dairy
products in the country.
The official called on all farmers to report any foot-and-mouth
disease cases and warned that his ministry will impose penalties on
those who fail to report these cases. "The ministry has provided
vaccines to vaccinate animals in infected areas and farmers whose
animals were slaughtered by the authorities will be compensated,"
Source: Gulf News