Recently, the European Commission sent a consignment of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine to Zambia in order to help the African nation's efforts in fighting an outbreak of the disease in the northern part of the country.
The consignment consists of 80,000 doses of FMD vaccine, formulated from the stocks stored in the premises of the European Union antigen bank by Merial S.A.S. The vaccines arrived in Zambia at the end of December.
Newly introduced serotype O
FMD is a disease of ruminants and other cloven-hoofed animals. The disease caused by certain serotypes is endemic in parts of Zambia, and vaccination against the endemic serotypes is the control measure to protect animals against infection from those serotypes of the FMD virus. In late 2010, an epidemic wave in the north of the country has been caused by a newly introduced serotype O of the FMD virus.
The Commission's decision comes in response to a Zambian request, which was submitted through the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), to provide support for an emergency vaccination campaign against the new FMD virus. The vaccination campaign will be monitored by the FAO Regional Animal Heal Centres.
The Commission will continue to assist Zambia in its efforts to eradicate this disease as it may also pose a threat to the European Union and its trade partners in southern Africa.