Three more cases of Foot and Mouth Disease have been detected in Tabanan Regency in Bali. The Tabanan Agricultural Service has been proactive in its approach to the newly discovered cases, although vaccines for cattle in the area have run out.
Foot and Mouth Disease, referred to in Indonesia as penyakit mulut dan kudu (PMK), is rapidly spreading throughout Indonesia and has been detected in dozens of cows in Bali. The Island of the Gods is currently on a red listing by the Indonesian agricultural departments and there is a ban on moving livestock between provinces.
The Head of the Tabanan Agriculture Service, I Made Subagia, told local reporters that the three new cases have been taken care of to prevent any further spread. ‘The lab results are out, positive, and a conditional cut [slaughter] was made…so that the virus doesn’t spread’.
Subgaia relayed the standard operating procedures of the province, whereby the meat can still be consumed if cooked properly, but that the head, tail, bones, and offal are buried.
This procedure is unlike that of Australia and the UK where if animals are culled due to Foot and Mouth Disease they must be cremated to ensure the virus doesn’t lay in the soil. In the right conditions, the virus can survive for up to 6-months without a living host. Australian authorities are doing all they can to help prevent the spread of the disease to the land down under.
A columnist in the country has shared their fears that the disease being detected in Australia would mean people would have to see ‘bonfires of burning animals’ all killed to help prevent any further spread of the disease.
Biosecurity at the Australian and New Zealand borders and airport arrivals has been ramped up in recent weeks. Australia has launched an AUD 14 million campaign to help ensure the virus does not spread, AUD 5 million of which has been sent to Indonesia in the form of technical support and resources to get the outbreak under control.
Travelers returning to Australia and New Zealand from Bali have been urged to either leave their shoes behind or make sure they are properly sanitized. Returning Bali travelers are also being given arrivals cards that must be answered honestly.
Travelers to Bali are still allowed to visit rural and farming communities, including the rice fields, coffee plantations, and village tours. Travelers are being encouraged to take biosecurity seriously and to follow the simple steps in place to protect the agricultural sector at home.
Back in Tabanan, Bali, the Head of the UPTD for Animal Health Center II Tabanan which covers the Kediri District, Dr. I Wayan Sutarja, has confirmed that although the vaccination program for cattle in the area had been going well, that department had now run out and was waiting on more supplies. He did not say when a new batch of vaccines will be delivered.
He said that 700 cows in the Kediri district had been vaccinated already and that vaccination of cattle against Foot and Mouth Disease was continuing across Bali. He said ‘We will be intensively vaccinating because the target for this vaccine is 100-200 cows a day. While vaccinating, we are also intensively conducting [meetings with farmers]’
Foot and Mouth Disease does not affect humans but people can transport the virus from one place to another as the virus can survive on living tissues like fences, urination, blood, and saliva that can be mixed into mud and dirt carried on shoes, bags, and clothing.
The disease is highly contagious and affects animals with cloven feet, like cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. Currently, foot and mouth disease has only been detected in cattle in Indonesia. It is being said that an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia would cost the economy AUD 80 billion in losses.
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