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Fears are being expressed by many about the killer virus infecting humans
24th March 2001

    With the foot-and-mouth disease hitting several farmhouses in the Kingdom, fears are being expressed by many about the killer virus infecting humans, especially after reports that FMD cases have been detected in some Malaysian children.

  A Health Ministry official told Arab News that it was in touch with the World Health Organization to know more about the transmission, if any, of the disease from infected livestock to humans and the symptoms of the disease among humans.

  “In the light of reports from the WHO, the ministry will take necessary measures to prevent the spread of FMD among humans,” the official said. The move comes after reports of foot-and-mouth cases having been detected in 22 children in Malaysia. The disease has gone out of control in Britain and hit several European, Asian and Latin American countries.

  Dr. Sameer Lingawi, director of health in Jeddah, has, however, allayed fears of the disease spreading among humans. “We have not yet received any information that confirms infection of humans. Since we have heard reports of FMD cases among humans, we have to make sure how the virus is transmitted to humans and what are its carriers. This will help us take preventive measures,” he said.

  Media reports have said that 100 calves have died at one farm in the eastern town of Sihat, where more than 420 calves have been infected. There have also been three new confirmed cases and five suspected cases among cows and 20 suspected cases among sheep in Qateef. The Okaz daily quoted Yousuf Abdul Wahed, director of the Agriculture and Water Ministry’s office in Qateef, as saying that FMD has been endemic in Qateef for over two decades.

  Saudi Arabia on Thursday slapped a temporary ban on imports of beef and mutton, in all forms and products, from Africa, Arabian Gulf, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Pakistan and China. In the wake of actions taken by the Kingdom, the French government has moved swiftly to prove their animal products were free from the disease.

  The French Embassy in Riyadh said Paris had taken quick action to contain the disease following the report of a single FMD case in Mayenne. “The farm which imported sheep from Britain has been put under supervision. We have also slaughtered all sheep imported from Britain as well as animals suspected of having come in contact with British sheep,” it added.

The embassy said that French chicken and horses were not affected by FMD. “The products that undergo thermal treatment, like in the case of pasteurization, pose no danger,” it added.

Source: ArabNews®

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24 March 2001 06:08:34 PM

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