Foot-and-mouth disease has spread to 1.6% of Kingdom’s cattle

Imported fodder caused epidemic spread in Kingdom, minister says

cattle feeding farm cows cow dairy
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Since the beginning of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak among Jordan’s livestock at the end of 2022, 1,478 head of cattle — about 1.6 percent of the Kingdom’s total 92,000 cows — have become infected, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.اضافة اعلان

Within the framework of the ministry’s intensive efforts to follow up on the outbreak, epidemiological investigation and follow-up teams have visited the affected farms and are monitoring the development of the epidemiological situation, collecting samples and sending them for examination to livestock laboratories, the ministry said on Sunday.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 56 farms have officially reported infections, spreading to 1,478 out of the 14,456 head of cattle at these farms, Ammon News reported.

Under the National Plan for Agriculture, the ministry implemented a national campaign for immunization against foot-and-mouth disease during the last quarter of 2022, vaccinating over 4 million head of livestock, including sheep, goats, and cows.

The ministry has taken a number of measures to reduce the chance of transmission, including raising awareness regarding the application of biosecurity measures and suspending the import of straw and hay from neighboring countries that have recorded cases of the disease.

The current situation in Jordan cannot be officially classified as an outbreak based on global standards, the ministry said, reassuring the public that there will be “no impact” on the supply or price of milk, given the abundance of milk production, which more than covers local market demand.

Infected fodderMinister of Agriculture Khaled Al-Huneifat said that the disease spread to Jordan through the import of fodder carrying the virus from a neighboring Arab country, according to local media outlet.

The epidemic, which is affecting primarily cattle, is endemic — limited to the Dulail area of Zarqa Governorate only, he said.

The ministry is working on establishing an operations room to follow up on the issue, which will be completed soon, Huneifat said.

Furthermore, the ministry is planning additional rounds of vaccinations for March and April, the minister noted.

‘Heavy losses’Meanwhile, Cooperative Society for Cattle Owners and Milk Producers President Ali Ghabayen offered a less favorable perspective on the disease’s spread in the Kingdom.

He told Jo24 that dozens of infections have been recorded among cows at farms in Dulail and the nearby Halabat, with some farms reaching a 100-percent rate of infection.

The virus, he added, has spread to some Irbid farms as well to cover an area of 40 square kilometers.
“This means that all of Zarqa Governorate is considered an infected area,” he said.

Foot-and-mouth disease in cattle leads to dryness of the udder and high temperatures, as well as risk of blood clotting and even death, the society president explained.

Ghabayen criticized the “inadequate” efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture in taking samples, saying that vaccinations “have failed to bring the desired results”, and questioned whether the virus currently circulating is, infact, foot-and-mouth disease.

“The mortality rate is very high and the losses are heavy,” he said. “Some farmers will have to leave the market with losses that impede their ability to continue.”