Paraguay Vaccinates Cattle to Contain Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak

Paraguay vaccinated 27,602 cattle against foot-and-mouth to contain an outbreak of the livestock disease in the central San Pedro department that has put a halt to beef exports valued at $881 million last year.

Vaccinations also included 893 pigs and 626 sheep and goats, and 25 teams are taking livestock blood samples in the zone around the outbreak, according to a notice from Paraguay’s National Service for Animal Quality and Health published today by the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.

Beef was Paraguay’s second-largest export after soybeans last year, government data show. Brazil and Argentina, both transit points for Paraguayan exports, last month suspended beef imports from the landlocked country after the outbreak of food- and-mouth disease was reported on Sept. 18.

“Vaccination and sero-epidemiological surveillance are ongoing,” the OIE said in the alert on its website today. “There are no new outbreaks in this report.”

Paraguay notified the vaccination progress on Oct. 7, the OIE said. The country completed the culling of 819 infected or susceptible cattle on Sept. 25, and has applied quarantine measures on farms as well as movement restrictions in the region, it reported last month.

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth is the country’s first since July 2003, the OIE said. Foot-and-mouth outbreaks typically result in “heavy” trade restrictions, including bans on shipments of uncooked meat, according to the OIE.

Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most contagious livestock illnesses and can kill young animals, according to the OIE. The virus affects cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, pigs and sheep.

Paraguay’s shipments of fresh, chilled and frozen meat from January to June were $445.5 million, 16 percent of the country’s primary-industry exports, while soybean exports came to $1.24 billion, based on data from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, By Rudy Ruitenberg