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European Expert Casts Doubt on Foot and Mouth

17 December 2007

CYPRUS - The Chairman of the European Livestock Association’s Animal Health and Welfare Committee has cast serious doubt over whether there was a foot and mouth outbreak in Cyprus.

“As a veterinarian who spent most of his life on control and eradication of FMD, I have serious concerns about the EU guided measures applied in Cyprus,” Dr Paul Sutmoller wrote in response to MEP Marios Matsakis’ letter to the European Commission, in which the latter clearly stated his doubts over whether there really was a foot and mouth outbreak in Cyprus.

At the same time however, the Veterinary Services yesterday announced they had spotted 44 new cases of foot and mouth disease in an Aradippou farm. Farm owner Lefteris Eleftheriou has said he would not allow the culling of his animals unless he was compensated first.

After closely observing the situation in Cyprus from the first day the disease was spotted, Sutmoller said he had no reason to doubt the official and EU declaration of the occurrence of FMD in Cyprus.

However, he believed there was a possibility the disease could have been brought under control with vaccinations instead.

He wrote the following posting for ProMed: “With regard to the stamping-out method used to try to control and eradicate the present FMD type O outbreak in Cyprus, one wonders if immediate vaccination of the susceptible livestock population on the island has been considered to bring the outbreak under control quickly. There are no scientific reasons to believe that under the prevailing conditions of Cyprus stamping-out may be more effective than vaccination in controlling the disease.”

The FMD expert then went on to cast serious doubt over whether there was an FMD outbreak in Cyprus. “If there had in fact been foot and mouth disease in Cyprus, the disease would most likely have spread widely by the time of detection and notification.”

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Source: CyprusMail


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