Guyana on high alert for foot and mouth disease

(DEMERARA WAVES) – The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) is on high alert for foot and mouth and other vesicular diseases following confirmed cases in Venezuela.

Head of GLDA’s Animal Health Unit, Dr. Colbert Bowen says following confirmation of the disease presence the by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has dispatched a team to Region One, Guyana’s closest border region with Venezuela, to prevent the importation of animals and animal products, which aid in the transmission of the disease.

“We have sent in a few officers there led by one of our veterinarians and they are presently on the ground in Region One, specifically in the Mabaruma because of the influx and movement of people from Venezuela.

Because of the situation in Venezuela, there is always the threat of somebody wanting to bring over a live animal or some sort of meat from those animals that are affected to Guyana.

The veterinary doctor advises that should the symptoms of vesicular diseases be observed among cattle, swine, goat and sheep or other split hooved animals immediate contact should be made with GLDA on the telephone number 220-6557.

“A vesicle is basically what we call a boil. So, you might find a boil in the mouth of the animal, drooling and when you look at it you might find them off feed.

Secondly in going with the name foot and mouth disease it affects the hoof of animals, so you’ll find just above the hoof of the animal the same raised boils and separation of the hoof on the animals.

The animals might be off feed, might be drooling, you’re going to see them limping, lameness in the animals,” he explained.

Guyana has been deemed free from foot and mouth disease without vaccination. This makes it easier for the country to trade in animals and animal products internationally.

In order to maintain this status, the GLDA in collaboration with other local and international agencies earlier this year held a simulation exercise to demonstrate its readiness to deal with any such outbreaks. The exercise received high marks for its state of readiness.