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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 23 March 2001

FMD: General commitment not to re-introduce vaccination by Member States

All Member States of the European Union confirmed today in the meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee their strong commitment to the current EU policy to eradicate foot and mouth disease. This involves two priorities. First, the killing and destruction of infected and susceptible animals. Second, strict controls on the movement of animals to minimise the potential for the virus to spread. There is no support for general vaccination of animals.

Member States discussed also how the current general Community provisions which allow for „ suppressive vaccination" might operate. These provisions provide for vaccination of a limited number of animals in a restricted area surrounding an outbreak of FMD if the volume of animals exceeds the available destruction capacity. This very specific emergency vaccination could be used to contain the disease around a confirmed outbreak. Animals awaiting slaughtering and destruction could be vaccinated to avoid that they further spread the virus. Since a reduction of infectivity only begins from 6-10 days after vaccination this policy would only be useful if the animals concerned could not be culled within this timeframe.

In this context and on request of the Dutch delegation, the Standing Veterinary Committee gave a favorable opinion to a proposal of the European Commission that the Netherlands may resort, under certain well-defined conditions 1 , to an emergerncy vaccination against foot and mouth disease. This "suppressive" vaccination can only be carried out on animals in identified holdings situated in a defined area and it can only be carried out exclusively in conjunction with immediate and quick destruction of the animals. The Netherlands could resort to this option if - in the case of further outbreaks - a shortage of rendering capacities might arise.

However, the Netherlands declared today in the SVC that they will not use this provision for the 3 outbreaks and 4 suspect cases recorded on 23 March. They also confirmed that they will kill and destroy all eventually vaccinated animals without undue delay and in any case within two months.

Before commencing any such limited vaccination, the Netherlands shall ensure that Member States and Commission are officially informed about all details of the programme.

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1 - Extent of geographical area for suppressive vaccination: up to 2 km radius around a

holding placed under restriction in the Netherlands

- Duration of vaccination campaign: The campaign must be completed within 48 hours

- There is a complete standstill of vaccinated animals and products of vaccinated animals

- vaccinated animals have to be specifically marked and identified

Released on 26 March 2001

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FOOD SAFETY | PUBLIC HEALTH | CONSUMER PROTECTION | DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION"

 
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