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Health and Consumer Protection

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EU provides vaccine to Turkey to help combat foot-and-mouth disease

The Commission decided on 4 August 2000 to provide a trivalent vaccine formulated from antigen stocks kept at the EU antigen bank to Turkey to help combat an exotic strain (ASIA 1) of foot-and-mouth disease in ruminants in the Thrace region of this country and thereby to protect the Community livestock. The Decision follows a request for assistance by the Turkish authorities. The Commission has arranged for replacement of the used antigen stocks without delay. The EU has important reserves of the virus antigen, which is the basis for the production of the vaccine. The first lot of trivalent vaccine against the ASIA 1 virus of the foot-and-mouth disease is due to arrive in Turkey today.

The EU and the countries of the Balkan follow a non-vaccination policy against foot-and-mouth disease. Vaccines are only used in emergency situations. The EU maintains a bank with about 30 million vaccine equivalent doses of different antigens of the foot-and-mouth disease virus. These antigens are stored at different places in France, Italy and the UK.

A European company converted the 1.5 million doses of three different antigens into a trivalent vaccine. 1.3 million doses of this vaccine will be sent to Turkey in two deliveries scheduled for the 5 and 12 of September 2000. The remaining 200.000 doses will be kept in reserve for emergency vaccination in other areas of the Balkan should the disease spread.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease of ruminants and swine, known to cause significant economic losses to livestock farmers. In general, an outbreak of the disease immediately leads to restrictions on international trade in livestock and in products such as fresh meat, milk and certain milk products originating from the country affected. The disease in animals does not pose any danger to human health. Member States representatives in the Standing Veterinary Committee have agreed to the Commission proposal to supply the vaccines to Turkey on July 19th .

Released on 6/9/2000


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