News 591 views last update:Nov 8, 2007

Outbreak foot and mouth confirmed in Cyprus

The Cypriot authorities confirmed their first outbreak of foot and mouth disease for over 40 years on Monday.

EU member states announced yesterday in a press release that they will support a decision by the Commission to swiftly introduce protection measures after a visit of an EU specialist to the farms in question. Two experts from the EU emergency veterinary team have been sent to Cyprus already to provide direct technical support.

The deadly foot and mouth disease was discovered in goats and sheep at two farms in the village of Dromolaxia on the south coast near Larnaca. Keeping in line with EU legislation, the authorities culled around 330 suspected goats and sheep on Monday. More culling is planned.

Exclusion zone
In addition, a 3km protection zone and a surveillance zone of 10km has been set-up around the affected area. Reports state that around one third of Cyprus' livestock is within this exclusion zone, which is an area of intensive animal husbandry.

Stringent movement controls have been enforced. Cyprus is now categorised as a high risk zone. Cypriot Agriculture Minister Photis Photiou stated that there are no livestock movements in or out of the country and the EU had placed a ban on Cypriot meat and dairy product exports.

Some breeders are attributing the outbreak to imported livestock, which was not controlled properly. However, what remains is that it comes as a hard blow to the Cypriot livestock sector and will have a negative effect on the economy.

Related websites:

• Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Cyprus

• European Commission

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