Taiwan announces it has eradicated foot and mouth disease

The COA said it will apply to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for official confirmation

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(CNA photo)

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) on Monday (July 1) announced it had eradicated foot and mouth disease (FMD), after a one-year hiatus vaccinating livestock against the disease, United Daily News reported on Monday (July 1).

The COA said it would apply to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for the country to be officially recognized as free from FMD by the organization. If approved in May next year, Taiwan will officially become an FMD-free country, the report said.

At a news conference held on Monday morning, the COA gave an account of the serious FMD outburst in Taiwan that started in 1997.

COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said FMD has affected Taiwan’s livestock industry for 22 years, and as a result, the number of pig farmers had decreased from more than 25,000 to around 7,200. He said the FMD epidemic has had a tremendous impact and causes losses of NT$170 billion a year.

Chen said animal epidemic prevention and control is not limited to FMD. African swine fever (ASF) is another case in point, he added.

The minister said the international community had praised Taiwan’s efforts to stop ASF spreading into the country, including tighter border controls. Various measures to prevent and control animal epidemics will continue to be enforced after stopping FMD vaccinations, Chen said, adding the next step would be to eradicate classical swine fever (CSF).