Indonesia aiming to get foot and mouth disease under control by year-end

JAKARTA, Aug 2 (Reuters): Indonesia is aiming to get its foot and mouth disease (FMD)outbreak under control by the end of this year, a government official said on Tuesday, as it forges ahead with a programme to vaccinate millions of livestock.

More than 455,000 livestock in 23 of the archipelago's 37 provinces have been infected with the disease as of Tuesday, according to government data, with 4,720 animals killed by the disease and 7,561 more slaughtered.

Cattle producing countries including Australia and New Zealand have raised their guard against FMD after infections were found in Indonesia's holiday island of Bali.

"We hope by the end of this year, we can control the situation by having the number of cases reported reduced from time to time," Wiku Adisasmito, spokesperson for the government task force handling the outbreak, told a briefing.

"We would also reassure the international community that Indonesia is capable of controlling the outbreak."

FMD is highly transmissible and causes lesions and lameness in cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals, but does not affect humans.

Indonesia has vaccinated nearly 900,000 livestock since launching its inoculation programme in June and has secured 3 million doses so far. Authorities have announced plans to buy millions more doses by year-end.

The country has also stepped up biosecurity measures such as sanitation foot mats and disinfectant sprayers at several airports, to ensure international and domestic travellers can prevent the virus from spreading, Wiku said. - Reuters

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