Published Date: 2017-03-16 11:44:02
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Foot & mouth disease - Palestinian Auth (02): (GZ) bovine, st O, spread
Archive Number: 20170316.4903671
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE - PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (02): (GAZA STRIP) BOVINE, SEROTYPE O, SPREAD
A ProMED-mail post http://www.promedmail.org
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases http://www.isid.org
Date: Tue 14 Mar 2017
Source: Fateh-Voice [in Arabic, machine trans., summ., edited]
A farmer in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, and the largest cattle grower there, suffered great losses when foot-and-mouth-disease [FMD] invaded his farm at the beginning of last month [February 2017]. He owns 400 head of cattle and had to spend thousands of shekels daily to feed and provide veterinary treatment and drugs to his cattle to reduce the severity of the disease, which affected most of his cattle and also caused mortality. "I am on the way to bankruptcy; the disease was not expected at all. I hope that the concerned authorities in the ministries in Ramallah and Gaza stand with us to enable providing full treatment to the animals." He did not ask for compensate of his losses, but calls for urgent action to stop the epidemic from leading to "destruction".
FMD is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease, afflicting cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, goats, cows, and buffaloes. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the FMD virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and spreads easily through the hay, or trucks, or contaminated clothing.
Competent veterinarian, Dr Zakaria Kafarna confirmed that FMD is highly prevalent among cattle and livestock, and causes heavy losses to the owners of the cows, especially those who keep them for the production of milk and cheese, because the affected cows refrain from food, hit by severe inflammation in the mouth and tongue, and thus lose full production.
A state of panic and fear prevailed among the citizens in the Gaza Strip, following the announcement of the detection of FMD. The Deputy Director General at the General Directorate of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Hassan Azzam, said that the infection rate exceeds 25 percent of the livestock in Gaza, indicating that the mortality rate exceeded 10 percent in various registered sector farms. Nearly 120 farms have been approved by the Ministry.
After pleas from the [Gaza] Ministry to the sister Ministry in Ramallah [see commentary] 10 000 doses of vaccine were supplied to Gaza, delivered through Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
Azzam revealed: "Those doses covered less than a quarter of the doses needed." He said that the Ministry in Gaza needs about 130 000 doses to catch up fully to eliminate this disease and save the livestock sector. He said that the response of the Ministry in Ramallah was slow. "The requested vaccine is required to prevent infection of 25 000 sheep and 10 000 calves."
The full amount of vaccine doses requested for 2017 was required for the vaccination against FMD and "plague of small ruminants" [sheep/goat plague, PPR].
Dr Kafarneh added: "If you do not move Ministry of Agriculture into action, there will be a real disaster hitting all cattle breeders; the only solution is to speed up the provision of vaccine."
[Another farmer] stood in the middle of his farm north of Gaza, echoing the words: "Damned the tunnels ..." According to him, "the FMD and other illnesses entered by cattle being smuggled [from Egypt] through the tunnels."
It should be noted that sheep and cattle that are imported through approved, commercial channels into the Gaza Strip undergo a quarantine period and are preventively vaccinated under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and other competent authorities, unlike cattle entering the Gaza Strip through the tunnels, introducing various diseases.
Other farmers support their colleague and similarly stated that one of the main reasons for the spread of FMD and [sheep/goat] plague, is the illegal import of livestock by black market dealers through tunnels built between Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The veterinarian Dr Mohammad Omar commented on this part: "The elimination of FMD and plague by vaccination should be accompanied by significant steps preventing the illegal introduction of those animals, imposing appropriate punishment on their traders." He stressed that the focus of FMD and other diseases was in Egypt.
[The terms "Gaza Ministry", "Deputy Director General in the General Directorate of Veterinary Services", "sister Ministry in Ramallah", and other data in the above media report, reflect the complex political and indeed animal health situation in the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip ("Gaza") is a small self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 km (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border. Gaza, together with the West Bank, comprise the "Palestinian Autonomous Territories" (PAA). The territories of Gaza and the West Bank are separated from each other by about 40 km (25 mi) of Israeli territory. Both were, until June 2007, under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, the headquarters of which is located in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Since June 2007, the Gaza Strip has been governed by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization. The PAA instituted a non-Hamas government in the West Bank while Hamas formed a government on its own in Gaza. However, the headquarters of the "General Directorate of Veterinary Services" of the PAA is recognised by both parties as being responsible for both territories. Their main office and laboratory are situated in Ramallah, headed by a Chief Veterinary officer who represents both entities internationally. Hence, the official notification of the recent FMD event in the Gaza Strip was submitted to the OIE on 20 Feb 2017 by "Dr Iyad Adra, Director General of Veterinary Services & Animal Health, CVO, Ministry of Agriculture, Ramallah, Palestinian Auton. Territories" (see 20170221.4855322).
Due to the Israeli and Egyptian border closures and the Israeli sea and air blockade, the imports of animals to Gaza Strip is performed through Israel's territory: imported cattle, unloaded in Israeli harbors, are transported to Gaza by land after a short quarantine period during which they are vaccinated.
The report above includes information on the introduction, or suspicions thereof, of 2 disease entities by illegal trade in livestock originating in Egyptian territories: FMD (cattle, sheep, goats) and PPR (sheep and goats). PPR has, so far, not been officially reported from the Gaza Strip; confirmation (or denial) of its circulation there will be helpful.
FMDV serotype O has been recently reported as circulating in 4 bordering eastern Mediterranean countries: in Egypt, where it is widely spread (see commentary in 20170221.4855322); in numerous locations throughout the Gaza Strip; in an adjacent large dairy operation in Israel (see 20170218.4849013) and, most recently, in 3 locations in Jordan (see 20170314.4900918). The distance between the northern tip of the Gaza Strip and Jordan's most western outbreak, in Deir Alla (the Jordan Valley), is about 120 km (map at http://tinyurl.com/hsjng62). It will be interesting to note if the (most likely, East African) genotype circulating in Egypt, Gaza and south-west Israel is related to the one circulating in Jordan (one of the 3 outbreaks in Jordan is close to Syria).
Egyptian FMDV -O samples, submitted in 2016, have been genotyped by the WRLFMD (Pirbright). Hopefully, samples from Gaza, Israel, and Jordan have been similarly submitted to the same international FMD reference laboratory for genotyping. - Mod.AS
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/promed/p/88.]