Foot-and-mouth at livestock market forces 14-day closure, loss to ranchers

A merchant poses for a photo at a meat market in Amman, on December 29, 2011. (Photo: Wikimedia)
AMMAN — A decision was issued by the Greater Amman Municipality to close the livestock market in the Sahab area after finding foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in a herd of calves located close to the market.اضافة اعلان

“We received an official letter from the Ministry of Agriculture about the presence of FMD cases in some animals in the area, so we decided to close the market for the purposes of disinfection and sterilization,” municipality spokesperson Nasser Al-Rahamneh told Jordan News, adding that the disease “never seriously affects humans”.

Rahamneh said the market will only be closed for 14 days. “I repeat, this is only a precautionary measure for the purposes of disinfecting and sterilizing the place before returning livestock to it,” he added.

Jordan News spoke with the head of the Jordanian Veterinary Association, Mahdi Al-Aqrabawi, who said that FMD is a viral disease that affects cows and sheep. “As for the symptoms that appear on animals, they are limited to what resemble sores that appear on the legs, lips, and tongue of the animals. But there is a treatment for this disease,” Aqrabawi said.

He added that FMD decreases milk production in infected animals, adding that this is not new disease and that it has appeared previously in Jordan.
Regarding animal to human cross-infection, Aqrabawi said that this is a common disease that infects both humans and animals and that human infection is possible. 

“It is important for everyone to know that this is a simple disease, and if a person becomes infected through direct contact with an infected animal, the effect will not exceed minor ulcerations in the mouth for at most two days,” Aqrabawi said.

As for eating the meat of infected animals, Aqrabawi said animals who had a high fever when they were slaughtered should not be eaten, and that infected meat changes color.

He said that in case of normal illness, “the muscles (of the animal) are never affected, they are fit for human consumption, only the legs and head (should be) destroyed.”

Aqrabawi advised farmers to isolate sick animals from others in the herd so the infection doesn’t spread, and the cleanliness and sterilization of the place must be constantly maintained.

A livestock farmer, Zaid Al-Daboubi, told Jordan News that the closure of the market will be hard on those who make their living from the sale of their animals. 

“We are really suffering because the Agriculture Ministry does not provide the necessary medicines and vaccines to protect our animals from such diseases. We have to buy (these medicines) individually from neighboring countries such as Palestine, so their cost is very high,” Daboubi said.

“The disease may not seem dangerous to the general public, but it can cause miscarriages, which is a very hard loss to the owner,” he said, adding that if the government could provide the necessary medicines, the impact on their businesses would be far less than it is now.

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