The department of animal health in Derna has declared the town and its suburbs to be in quarantine following the discovery . . .[restrict]of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the area.
The department warned that no live animals were to be sold, transported or slaughtered, especially cows, sheep, and goats. Veterinary teams have been formed to ensure the decsion . They have been sent to Derna, Al-Fataeh, Al-Abraq, El-Guba, Martouba, and Um-Ruzm The department stated that any one who did not follow the ruling would be subject to prosecution.
FMD was first diagnosed in December in Zawia, in the west of the country. From there it spread to farms near Khoms, Zliten and Misrata, infecting more than 44,250 sheep and goats and over 9,100 cattle according to the UN’s Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health.
By the beginning of March, it had spread to the area around Benghazi leading to the Ministry of Agriculture deciding to order the closure of animal livestock markets in and around the city.
In many countries mass slaughter of infected herds is the usual means of control. Libya, however, has opted for mass vaccination. But it clearly has not worked.
The virus spreads between animals through breathing and is highly active in low temperatures and places with high humidity. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, less amounts of milk, salivation, lameness, kicking legs, and rupture of vesicles in nose, mouth, and udder.
Moving animals long distances, from one place to another, is common in Libya. Sheep from Misrata, for example, are sought after in the markets in Benghazi.
The rapid spread of the virus in Libya at present is also seen as an outcome of the current disorganised state of the country where rules and regulations are ignored and, in this case, where there are there is insufficient controls over the movement and sale of livestock. The services of the Ministry of Agriculture and of vets are also overstretched.