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“FEBRE AFTOSA”… na bacia Mediterrânica!

Animal movement through formal trade is very intensive between
countries in Sub-Saharan countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, and Djibouti) and
Northern Africa (Egypt and Libya). Most countries in the MENA region
are livestock importers, with live animal imports via the
Mediterranean from Europe or the Americas or other parts of the Middle
East, or across the Arabian Sea and Gulf from eastern Africa and
Asia/Australasia. Intra-regional trade in large and small ruminants is
limited except for exports in the past from Syria towards Saudi Arabia
and the Gulf states.

For 6 countries including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Sudan and
Morocco, FAOSTAT data show in 2009, 175 034 heads of live animals
(including cattle, small ruminants and buffaloes) valued at USD 167
191 000 were imported. The estimated exports for the same year for
countries in the region was 1 536 899 heads with a value of USD 254
854 000. Control of animal importation across the borders of Libya and
Egypt appears to have dramatically changed since the civil unrest of
2011, but this flow is likely to be inward; commercial livestock flows
across the Egypt-Libya borders in 2011 and 2012 are unclear. The risk
of eastward spread will depend not only on ontrol at land borders with
Israel but also on the risk of “jumps across the sea” of infection
through various routes including movements of people, fomites or
returning ships that carried livestock to ports from infected

According to official reports, most of the current FMD SAT2 outbreaks
reported in Egypt are concentrated in the Nile Delta, an area where
most intensive livestock farms are located. Animal movements within
the country are generally from a south to north direction, with
animals coming from Sudan and Ethiopia mainly during the months of
March and April. There is also movement of animals from the quarantine
station in Ain Sokhna in Suez Governorate to other areas of the
country. These include animals imported from countries in the Horn of
Africa and quarantined in Suez. In Egypt, during the epidemic of type
A which occurred between January and March 2006, index cases occurred
close to quarantine stations where animals from Ethiopia were held.

In addition to animal movements through quarantine stations, animals
are also moved within the country in association with the nomadic
Bedouins, mostly within one governorate. There is limited or no animal
movement from Egypt to other countries in the region.

The role of Gazelle spp in transboundary movement of FMD is probably
unlikely as only limited populations exist in the western desert and
borders with the neighbouring countries to the east. Gazelle spp in
the Middle East are known to be sensitive to FMD and mortalities have
been recorded in Israel and Oman with type O. Infection in wildlife is
probably self-limiting and close contact with nomadic pastoralists’
animals is likely to be a source for these species.

Egypt and Libya have had several introductions of FMD virus types over
the past 10 years. In Libya, these occurred in 2003 (SAT2), in 2009
(type A Iran 05 BAR-08) and 2010 (serotype O ANT-10), with the latter
2 following the regional pandemics in West Eurasia of the same
lineages. In Egypt, in 2012 (SAT2),[preceded by] the 2006 incursion of
an African serotype A from north-east Africa (FMD Virus Pool 4) with
continued circulation, and the introductions of A Iran 05 BAR-08 and
serotype O ANT-10, which are likely to have entered at the time of the
regional epidemics but which were not detected until 2012. The 2006
incursion was devastating, and following the initial epidemic, this
strain continued to circulate even after local vaccines were used, at
least until 2011.

The emergence and rapid spread of FMD virus in West Eurasia (Virus
Pool 3) has been well documented by the FAO/EuFMD and is one of the
rationales behind the West Eurasia Regional Roadmap for FMD control
involving 14 countries, from Pakistan through Turkey, thereby
decreasing the risk to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The
finding that West Eurasian epidemics may extend as far as Libya (on at
least 2 recent occasions) indicates that east to west epidemics are a
high risk although often mitigated by partial immunity through
vaccination against A and O.

In the case of a current Asia-1 epidemic in West Eurasia that has
reached western Turkey, and of SAT1 and SAT2 or exotic African type A
viruses, existing control programmes do not cover the risks and more
severe epidemics can be expected in the near future. For this reason,
FAO/EuFMD, working with the FAO-WRL in Pirbright, places a high
emphasis on improving early detection of new threats through support
to FMD epidemiological surveillance networks in West Eurasia, Eastern
Africa and West/Central Africa but faces the onsiderable hurdles of
rapid disease spread in these regions coupled with limited sampling
and local capacity to detect and characterise FMD virus samples, or
respond quickly to changing events by providing vaccines that provide
adequate immunity to new strains of FMD circulating. Building national
capacity is central to establishing long-term Regional Roadmaps for
FMD control in these endemic regions, such as the Roadmap for West
Eurasia and for Eastern Africa which was drafted at an international
meeting of FAO, OIE and AU-IBAR in Nairobi in March 2012.

Factors which influence animal movements in the MENA region include
differentials on price of animals, their products, and the movement of
people as they flee political or civil unrest, and religious
celebrations such as Eid-al-Fitr, amongst others. In 2012, the Eid
will be celebrated at the end of August, which implies an increased
risk of virus dispersal across the region via increased movements of
animals, particularly lambs, during the months of May through July,
unless concerted prevention and control actions are implemented.

[The review includes several references; special attention is
attributed to the following 2 guiding documents:

  1. FAO. 2011. Good Emergency Management Practices: The Essentials. FAO
    Animal Production and Health Manual No. 11. Rome (available at
  2. FAO. 2002. Preparation of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Contingency plans.
    FAO Animal Health Manual No. 16. Rome (available at

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