DHARAMSHALA, September 15: The highly infectious and sometimes fatal Foot and Mouth Disease infections have been traced in livestock in the Nyingtri region of central Tibet.
According to the regional agricultural ministry, a total of 123 live head of cattle and 108 pigs have showed symptoms associated with FMD.
After collecting samples, the Chinese National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory on Thursday confirmed that the livestock were infected with type O FMD.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that local authorities have “sealed off and sterilised the infected area, where a total of 612 head of cattle and pigs have been culled and safely disposed of in order to prevent the disease from spreading since the case was confirmed.”
Last year in September more than 1700 cattle were culled and disposed after an outbreak of FMD was reported in central Tibet.
According to reports in 2009, Chinese authorities covered up a major outbreak of FMD in central China that led to the slaughter of over 12,000 dairy cattle at the end of 2008.
While “quietly sending military troops to kill and burry the cattle,” Chinese authorities did not reveal the outbreak to the public, the Epoch Times said in a report.
“Insiders say the provincial officials ordered the cover-up in fear that their records might be affected. Further investigation confirmed the disease to be a special type of FMD resistant to the current vaccine.”
Following an outbreak of FMD in China’s eastern provinces of Shandong and Jiangsu, which later spread to suburban Beijing in 2005, China had for the first time reported FMD outbreak to the World Health Organisation.
FMD is an acute contagious febrile disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The disease can potentially cost huge economic loss to farming and nomadic families who make their living from livestock.