Health protocols must be prioritized to check FMD spread: academic

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Jakarta (ANTARA) – Health protocol implementation among livestock must be prioritized to curb the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), an academic from the Animal Husbandry Faculty of Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed) has said.

“The first health protocol that must be implemented in farm animals’ cages is maintaining cleanliness,” Dr. Mohandas Indradji M.P. said when contacted here on Friday.

FMD is highly contagious, so transmission in cages or among livestock can occur very quickly, he explained.

“The FMD virus, which is a member of the aphthovirus genus and belongs to the Picornaviridae family, spreads very quickly in livestock,” he noted.

Therefore, health protocol implementation in cages and the supervision of livestock movement are essential, he said.

The mobility of humans in farm animals’ cages also needs to be monitored to prevent humans from becoming carriers of the virus.

He stressed that infected farm animals must not be allowed to leave their cages. Disinfecting the surrounding environment and equipping farm workers with protective equipment are also necessary, he added.

Dissemination of information regarding FMD must continue to be increased to boost people’s awareness and understanding, Indradji said.

“People need to know that animals infected with this foot-and-mouth disease virus will show general symptoms, including fever accompanied by blisters on the tongue, lips, mouth, nipples, and between the nails,” he explained.

Related news: Intensify health protocols in livestock to prevent FMD transmission

The FMD virus can be found in all secretions of infected animals, including air exhaled through the respiratory tract, he added.

Thus, preventive measures are necessary, which include isolating infected animals, closing areas where there are no cases of FMD, disinfection, and stamping out.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, had affirmed that the government will routinely evaluate the development of the FMD outbreak in the country.

“Every week or regularly, whenever there is a development, a ministerial decree of the Agriculture Minister will be issued and followed up with the issuance of a task force’s circular and Home Affairs Minister’s instruction to accelerate FMD handling, just like what’s done in COVID-19 handling,” he explained at a limited coordination meeting for FMD handling on June 29, 2022.

Hartarto said that besides cattle, FMD has started affecting buffaloes, goats, and pigs. For that reason, the government is accelerating the handling of FMD by pushing the task force to work quickly, expediting vaccinations, and managing livestock movement.

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