Rangoon (Mizzima) – After detecting foot and mouth disease (FMD) in beef exported from Burma, China stopped importing beef products from Burma in mid-July, according to a Myanmar Livestock Federation official.
The Chinese government informed Burma that its beef exports had been banned under the Animals, Floral, Fruits and Diseases Control Law, said Win Sein, vice chairman of the Myanmar Livestock Federation.
However, he said there is some confusion as to what products are covered under for the ban. In international trade, a risk of foot and mouth disease “is tolerable” in frozen meat and meat products, he said. But under a World Organization of Animal Health rule, hides must be “free of infectious diseases in manufacturing chemical leather tanning processes.”
It is not clear if China’s ban included cow and buffalo hides, he said. Leather products from Burma are free from infectious foot and mouth disease, he said.
In January, South Korea donated US$ 3 million to Burma to combat foot and mouth disease under a control program, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The three-year project under the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) mainly covered the disease found in buffaloes and cows used for agricultural cultivation purposes, it said.
FMD is endemic in a number of regions across Burma and several outbreaks have caused substantial economic losses in the livestock sector and the country's major sector of agriculture in the past.
FMD mostly occurs in Magway, Irrawaddy and Rangoon regions in cold season of January and February and the start of the wet and muddy monsoon season in June and July.
Burma has an estimated 17 million cows and buffaloes in the country.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
Foot-and-mouth disease can be spread by infected animals through the air or contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing or feed. Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions and quarantines, and occasionally the elimination of animals.
Burma and South Korea have closely cooperated in the health sector in programs covering medical research, upgrades to laboratories, special medical studies and training, and providing healthcare directly to Burmese by Korean medical teams.