Malaysia: Pahang and Johor cattle hit by FMD

LOH FOON FONG The Star 22 Jun 16;

PETALING JAYA: A foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak has put thousands of cattle at risk in four districts in Pahang and Johor and the Department of Veterinary Services has advised people to get their meat supply for the Hari Raya season elsewhere.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Kamarudin Mat Isa said the outbreak, which began on May 9 in Pahang, hit Felda Sungai Rentang and Kampung Paya Rajin in Jerantut, Kampung Baru Bukit Kuin in Maran and Felda Keratung in Rompin.

In Johor, Sungai Mengkuang and Endau in the Mersing district are affected, he said.

But he said the disease, which is different from the hand, foot and mouth disease that infects humans, was an animal disease and not zoonotic and would not infect human beings.

He added that the outbreak was still active in Jerantut and Mersing but was already under control in Maran and Rompin.

“We have been carrying out vaccination programmes in all the pla­ces that have FMD. The situation is under control,” he told The Star yesterday.

Since the outbreak, 114 heads of cattle were found with FMD in Pahang and 28 in Johor, he said.

Dr Kamarudin said the outbreak had put 10,800 cattle in Rompin at risk of being infected, followed by Jerantut 1,300 and Maran 1,150 while Mersing had 1,300.

Vaccination was carried out up to a 10km radius from the affected areas, he said.

He said no affected animals had died because the symptoms this time were rather mild.

“We observed the infection in the foot area and not in the mouth area such as blisters in the tongue, lips and gums,” he said.

Dr Kamarudin said that no animals would be allowed to be taken out from the areas for now.

“We are currently containing the disease in those locations and we have asked farmers not to move animals to other areas.

“We also advise farmers from other areas not to visit the outbreak areas because we would like to prevent the spread of the disease.”

On the concern over whether there would be adequate supply of cattle for the Raya season, Dr Kamarudin said it was estimated that the potential demand for the season from the affected areas was less than 600 cows, which was quite small, and he urged buyers and traders to get their supply from other districts or states.

“Our officers will not issue movement permit and enforcement officers will be patrolling the area to reduce the risk to people transporting sick animals to other pla­ces,” he said.

As to whether farmers could sell their cows after the quarantine period, he said they would have to get clearance from his officers.

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