Foot-and-mouth disease: why control is key to economic growth

Foot-and-mouth disease: why control is key to economic growth

Excellent article on Foot-and-mouth disease in The Guardian:

“The modern day silk roads of central and west Asia carry a much wider diversity of goods than in the days of Marco Polo. But one thing remains the same: the importance of the trade in live animals that flows from the less developed regions – and the epidemic waves of animal disease that follows. Especially, the foot-and-mouth disease, which occurs every year and usually spreads from east to west.

In 2010, FMD reached as far as Bulgaria; other recent outbreaks made it to Israel, Libya and Egypt. Although certain countries appear most important as the primary source, at least 14 countries in west Eurasia are affected regularly. Within these virus ecosystems, half-applied control measures may spur drug-resistance and vaccine failures.

FMD may be remembered in the UK for the economic devastation it brought upon farmers and the economy in 1967, 2001 and 2007. The contrast with developing countries, almost none of which are free of the disease, is great – there, such losses are facts of life to livestock keepers, and compensation virtually unknown. The impact and extent of the problem is evident from recent surveys in west Eurasia that show that up to 90% of villages had animals with recent infection, and 20% of livestock keepers reported it in the past year.

Even with under-reporting rates in the more advanced regions 10-30 times below reality, in 2012 over 3,700 outbreaks were reported in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey alone. The economic loss in the 400m livestock in west Eurasia still needs to be estimated. In south Asia, with 500m at risk, these were estimated at $4.45bn a year (pdf), or $9 per animal (two shots of a top vaccine costs about one-third this amount).”

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/may/29/foot-and-mouth-global-development

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