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The impact of importation of live ruminants on the epizootiology of foot and mouth disease in Saudi Arabia
|Author(s) :||I.H.A. Abd El-Rahim, A.H. Asghar, A.M. Mohamed & S.M. Fat’hi|
Approximately five million live ruminants are imported annually into Saudi Arabia. The majority of these animals are imported shortly before the pilgrimage season from Sudan and the Horn of Africa, where foot and mouth disease (FMD) is known to be enzootic. This study was designed to investigate the impact of the importation of these live ruminants on the epizootiology of FMD in Saudi Arabia. The authors carried out antibody testing on a total of 480 sheep and 233 cattle from the sacrificial livestock yards of the Saudi Project for Utilization of Hajj Meat, which performs ritual slaughter on behalf of pilgrims in the Holy City of Makkah. The results revealed that 136 (28.3%) of the 480 sheep tested were serologically positive for FMD, using an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (3ABC FMD ELISA). This included 17.7% of Sawakani sheep (imported from Sudan) and 40.9% of Barbari sheep (imported from the Horn of Africa). Among the cattle, 120 (51.5%) of 233 animals tested positive for FMD virus (FMDV) antibodies. The 120 seropositive cattle included all clinically suspected cattle and 62 (35.4%) symptom-free, in-contact cattle. The findings highlight the risks associated with the annual importation of live ruminants from FMD-enzootic areas.
Epidemiology – Foot and mouth disease – Importation – Live ruminants – Makkah – Pilgrimage season – Saudi Arabia – Seroprevalence.