Indonesian authorities reported the country’s first major outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) nearly 40 years after successfully eradicating the virus in 1986 and declared FMD-free in 1990.
“This is the most feared disease in the world for the livestock industry. No other virus is so horrific economically and socially,” East Java II Indonesian Veterinary Association Head Deddy Kurniawan said.
FMD is highly contagious and affects hoofed animals such as cows, deer, sheep, pigs, goats, and pigs.
“The viral shedding of the virus is so high that it is difficult to avoid transmission unless you have tight biosecurity measures in place,” Kurniawan added.
In May, the Indonesian government rolled out a vaccine program to inoculate healthy cattle against the disease after over 300,000 FMD cases were recorded in 21 provinces.
However, businessperson Joko Iriantono said authorities could have contained the FMD outbreak better with widespread culling.
“We paid ourselves to get the cows vaccinated privately, and we have beefed up our biosecurity measures,” Iriantono added.
According to reports, the Indonesian government was against widespread culling because of concerns about insufficient funds to compensate farmers for lost livestock, and provinces focused on vaccination and other measures such as antibiotic treatment.
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