The presence of hoof and mouth disease in a cattle herd in the state of the Brazilian southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul has already induced 30 countries to suspend meat imports from Brazil.
Veterinarian Willian Vilela, manager of animal health in the Agricultural Protection agency of the state of Goiás, outlined the consequences of hoof and mouth disease for human and animal health.
According to him the cattle disease rarely affects humans and is never fatal. Vaccinated cattle also survive, but have trouble swallowing, as a result of buccal sores and intense salivation.
The reason for sacrificing infected animals, which become commercially worthless when they contract the disease, is to keep the virus from spreading. Embargoes, in turn, are imposed to ensure that the disease will not spread to foreign herds.
According to Vilela, the disease is transmitted by the animal’s saliva, sores, and through the air. it is one of the smallest viruses on record.
Vilela believes that Brazil will relinquish its position as the world’s biggest beef exporter. In his view, the international market will only regain its confidence in Brazilian beef six months after the last sick animal is sacrificed.
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