Sarawak declares five Control Areas after foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in Kalimantan

SIBU: The Kuching, Serian, Sri Aman, Miri and Limbang divisions in Sarawak have been declared as foot-and-mouth disease Control Areas.

State Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi said the divisions border Kalimantan Barat and Kalimantan Utara where there are active outbreaks of the disease among cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep.

"This declaration is made in order that the state Veterinary Services Department can impose and take all the necessary control measures to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease into Sarawak," he said in a statement on Wednesday (June 15).

The control measures include a ban on livestock and livestock product imports from Indonesia, monitoring and surveillance of livestock in the high-risk areas, and veterinary inspections at entry points to the state.

ALSO READ: Indonesia grapples with re-emerging foot-and-mouth disease among livestock in the country

Foot-and-mouth disease is an acute and highly contagious viral infection occurring among both domestic and wild cloven-hooved animals.

They include cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep, pigs as well as wild boar and deer.

The disease spreads from animal to animal via airborne droplets, nasal discharge and also from contaminated feed, bedding and other possible infection-bearing materials.

"However, it is not a zoonotic disease (transmissible from animals to humans) and it is not a public health concern.

"It is distinct from the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) affecting our young children, which is caused by a different virus," he said.

Rundi added that Sarawak has been recognised as a foot-and-mouth disease-free zone since May 2004 by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The status was important to safeguard its international trade in livestock and livestock products, he added, which was why every possible effort was being taken to prevent it from entering the state.

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