September 27, 2022


Australian experts cast doubt on zero foot-and-mouth disease cases among Bali cattle



Experts from Australia have cast doubt on claims by Indonesian officials such as Bali's Agriculture and Food Security office that there are no cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among the state's cattle in the past few weeks, ABC News reported.


ABC news said they have filmed cattle with FMD symptoms in September at different areas of Bali, while Bali farmers have also reported cattle with FMD symptoms.


More than 60 cattle were butchered in the first week of September due to the disease, according to confirmation provided to the ABC by officials in Denpasar.


A senior Indonesian agriculture official claims that after killing 556 cows infected with FMD in July and swiftly curing a small cluster of cases in Denpasar in August, Bali is currently FMD-free.


An Australian veterinarian said that the speed at which FMD can be eradicated is not possible.


Ross Ainsworth, a veterinarian who has spent a lot of time in Bali and who previously worked for decades in Australia's live cattle trade, said that he thought it was the second most contagious disease known to science.


It seems that Bali is under pressure to eradicate the illness before the island welcomes world leaders for the G20 summit in the middle of November.


Many cattle owners cannot confirm a FMD diagnosis or send their animals for treatment because they cannot afford it.


I Wayan Sunada, the head of Bali's Agriculture and Food Security office, said Bali really does have zero cases.


Ainsworth said there are other diseases that could cause cattle to foam in the mouth such as poisoning, oral foreign bodies, or infection of the gums, but these do not come together with foot lesions.


He said inspection of the tongue and hard palate for blisters, ulcers, and foot lesions, as well as a history of local FMD and vaccination records, make the difference between the two very clear.


Just months before it was scheduled to host world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the annual G20 meeting, the FMD outbreak struck the island of Bali.


Agriculture officials have confirmed that Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, a senior Indonesian minister, ordered Bali to have "zero cases" by the start of the summit in November in late August.


-      ABC News

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