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Foot and mouth disease: spread of the epizootic in the Balkans and aid from international organisations

The foot and mouth epizootic (due to the serotype A), which was first announced in Albania on 22 May 1996 (cf. Disease Information of the OIE (1) [May and June 1996]), has now been reported in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (cf. Disease Information of 5 July 1996), where over 500 cattle have been slaughtered.

This epizootic could spread to neighbouring countries. An extension of the disease could have serious economic repercussions for the entire region, and could be a grave risk for the European Union countries. For this reason, the European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FAO) (2), the Commission of the European Communities, and the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) initiated aid to the countries concerned to fight this epizootic.

The methods to be employed to control this outbreak were discussed on 5 July 1996 during an emergency meeting of the three organisations and the relevant countries.

The Community Vaccine Bank could contribute to vaccination operations in the zones under risk.

In the meantime, the OIE has granted an initial emergency aid of 20,000 doses of vaccine, which were delivered to Skopje on 8 July.

(1) The OIE, world organisation for animal health, was created in 1924 and has its headquarters in Paris. It brings together 143 Member Countries and is responsible for informing and advising national Veterinary Services in order to protect public health and to contribute to the eradication of the most dangerous animal diseases.

Disease Information is a weekly OIE publication in French, English and Spanish. It is available on the OIE Web site: "" or "".

(2) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Contact : Maria Zampaglione