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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 3 April 2001

FMD: Results of the Standing Veterinary Committee

The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) reviewed the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) situation in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and the Netherlands. The two day meeting will continue tomorrow where it will consider possible prolongation of existing restrictions and a proposal of the European Commission to define precise vaccination provisions for zoo animals. Today, the SVC gave however a favourable opinion on a European Commission proposal to extend the emergency vaccination programme at present operated in the Netherlands.

Vaccination in the Netherlands

The Committee gave a favourable opinion on a proposal of the European Commission to extend the emergency vaccination in the Netherlands, as requested by the Dutch delegation and in accordance with the presented programme. Currently the Netherlands vaccinates susceptible animals within a 2 km radius around an outbreak of FMD whilst these animals are awaiting culling and subsequent incineration ("suppressive vaccination"). The Dutch delegation requested today to employ an additional vaccination programme which is very similar to the emergency vaccination programme granted last week to the UK ("protective vaccination"). In the event that the Netherlands resorts to this programme, it will be able to vaccinate cattle in the Oene region. Such vaccination will need to be clearly identified as such in their passports. Any vaccinated cattle would not be moved from the vaccination zone for at least one year after the last outbreak in that area. The meat and the milk of these animals could be used subject to specific treatments which will ensure destruction of the FMD virus (pasteurisation of milk, maturation of meat).

If the Netherlands resorts to the possibility of protective vaccination it shall ensure that Member States and the Commission are officially informed on further details of the envisaged vaccination campaign, such as the exact area where protective vaccination will take place.

Such a possible campaign would of course have a temporary and geographically limited impact on the FMD status of the Netherlands. In the light of the control standard in place at international level, the internationally recognised status of other Member States being «FMD-free without vaccination » is not in question.

Released on 05/04/2001

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