Foot and Mouth Disease: Commission adopts urgent protection measures after case in wild boar in Bulgaria

Published: 7 January 2011 y., Friday

The European Commission adopted last night urgent protection measures after a wild boar, which was shot by hunters at the end of 2010 in Bulgaria, tested positive to Food and Mouth Disease (FMD). The Commission's decision aims to reinforce control measures for FMD already taken by the competent Bulgarian authorities.

In particular, the Commission's decision defines the high risk area (the province of Burgas) and low risk areas (the surrounding provinces of Yambol, Sliven, Shumen and Varna). The dispatch of live susceptible animals (e.g. pigs, cattle, sheep, etc.) from both the high and low risk areas is prohibited. According to the decision, the trade of semen, ova and embryos and other products of susceptible animals coming from the high risk area is also prohibited. There are no restrictions for the products of susceptible animals coming from the low risk areas.

The Decision also provides for the rules applicable to the trade of safe products from the high and low-risk areas that either had been produced before the restrictions (from raw materials originating outside the restricted areas) or that had undergone treatment, which is effective in inactivating the foot-and-mouth disease virus.

The Bulgarian authorities had informed the European Commission on Wednesday about the FMD case. Hunters shot three wild boars at Bulgaria's Makevtci area in the Burgas region on December 30, 2010. The area is located two km from the border with Turkey. One of the boars displayed feet lesions. Preliminary laboratory tests for the detection of the FMD viral antigen gave positive results, which indicate a recent infection. Samples have been sent to the EU Reference Laboratory for FMD for further confirmation.

The competent authorities also informed the Commission about putting in place measures provided for in Council Directive 2003/85/EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease.

The measures provided in the Directive include epidemiological investigation, suspension of hunting and a ban in feeding wild animals, placing under official surveillance holdings keeping animals of susceptible species, inspection by an official veterinarian of all wild animals shot or found dead. They also include surveillance programmes and prevention measures applicable to the holdings keeping animals of susceptible species and if necessary, in its surroundings, including the transport and movement of animals of susceptible species within, from and to the area, etc.

This issue will be discussed with all the Member States at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health scheduled for 11-12 January 2011, where the interim measures urgently adopted by the Commission today will be reviewed and if necessary amended.

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