Australia and Indonesia pledge to tackle foot-and-mouth disease outbreak | Health, Medicine and Fitness
By ANDI JATMIKO and NINIEK KARMINI – Associated Press
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Australia’s top agriculture official met with his Indonesian counterpart on Thursday to discuss ways to stop an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that has infected hundreds of thousands of cattle in Indonesia and prevent the epidemic to spread in Australia.
The disease was detected in Indonesia’s Aceh and East Java provinces in May and has spread to 20 other provinces, including Bali, in the past two months.
Australian Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt met with Indonesian Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo and pledged support for Indonesia’s efforts to contain the spread of the epidemic in Australia’s nearest large neighbour.
“Foot and mouth disease would have a significant impact on Australian agriculture if it reached our shores,” Watt said in a statement ahead of his visit. “We are taking practical steps to prevent this.”
Foot-and-mouth disease – an acute and highly contagious viral disease of cloven-legged animals that is sometimes transmitted to humans – is spreading rapidly across Indonesia, which had not seen an outbreak for 32 years, before an infection that allegedly caused by cattle imported from India.
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As of Thursday, more than 366,000 animals have been infected across 22 provinces, mostly on the more populated islands of Java and Sumatra. At least 2,400 animals have died from the disease, according to official data from the national foot-and-mouth disease task force.
Limpo said his ministry was working with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency and together they distributed medicines, antibiotics, vitamins, immune boosters and disinfectants to farmers and herders.
The government has warned livestock farmers and traders to ensure the livestock they sell are free of the disease, ordering slaughterhouses to kill and bury any animals showing symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease and to vaccinate animals. sensitive animals.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said the government had prepared around 3 million doses of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, mostly from France. Nearly 500,000 animals were vaccinated on Thursday and the country plans to purchase an additional 28 million doses of the vaccine to fight the disease, Hartarto said.
After meeting Limpo in Jakarta, Watt said Australia would send one million foot-and-mouth disease vaccines to Indonesia in early August and provide funding worth 500,000 Australian dollars ($337,600). to Meat and Livestock Australia – a producer-owned company based in Sydney that provides marketing, research and development services to over 50,000 cattle, sheep and goat farmers – to work with Indonesian feedlots and share their expertise.
“This is a very serious disease and it is in both of our interests to bring this outbreak under control,” Watt said at a press conference. “We are taking a series of tough measures at home, and we are also working with our friends in Indonesia to ensure that we work overseas.
He applauded the Indonesian government’s efforts to fight the contagious disease, especially in Bali, a popular tourist island for Australians. Some farming groups have called for a travel ban between Australia and Bali, fearing tourists could bring the disease home on their clothes and shoes.
During his two-day visit to Indonesia, Watt also plans to meet with the head of Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency and agribusiness leaders.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Indonesia last month and pledged vaccines and technical expertise to help the country fight the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
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