Foot and mouth disease poses serious threat to Europe

Cattle. UN Photo/Tim McKulka

Efforts are being stepped up by the European Union and the UN to prepare for any possible outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease or FMD in Europe.

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects only animals with cloven or divided hooves such as cattle, buffaloes, pigs, sheep, goats and deer.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) an outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001 cost the country $16 billion and resulted in 10 million sheep being culled.

Although many EU members are considered free from FMD, the virus is still present in parts of the neighbourhood and in around 100 countries in Africa, the Middle East, South America and Eurasia.

Sandra Ferrari asked FAO's expert on the disease, Keith Sumption, how serious the threat of the disease is to Europe.

Duration: 4'30''

Filed under Today's Features.
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