Vaccination against FMD advances in Colombia
The second cycle of FMD vaccination is being carried out in Colombia. Source: ICA.gov.co.
In Colombia, the second vaccination cycle is being carried out (two vaccines are given in the year) to face the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
Colombia is the third country in Latin America with the most head of cattle with 24,205,969, after Brazil and Argentina. Currently, Colombia’s sanitary status for FMD is a free country with vaccination, a category issued by the OIE (June 2020 update).
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects hoofed animals, that is, animals that have hoofs like cattle and pigs. Although it has a low mortality of 5%, it does present high morbidity greater than 90%. In addition, it is a disease that must be reported to the authorities of each country and finally to the OIE. When outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease occur, this event has strong economic repercussions for the country involved as it suffers a restriction to mobilize animals, genetics, meat, and milk.
The best way to prevent foot-and-mouth disease is vaccination. Colombia, through the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario ICA (Colombian Agricultural Institute) and the Federacion Colombiana de Ganaderos FEDEGAN (Colombian Federation of Farmers) plan to vaccinate 21,500,000 cattle before the end of 2020. A bivalent vaccine is being used again: it serves to prevent foot-and-mouth disease and also rabies bovine, another viral disease of great importance.
To carry out this titanic vaccination program, 3,000 people are employed who carry out tasks as programmers, vaccinators, and data entry operators. These people are given training days where they are updated on animal welfare issues, vaccination techniques for foot and mouth disease, and for brucellosis. This allows all personnel to be trained in the field for this vaccination cycle.
The second cycle of vaccination began on November 5 and is planned to last 45 days. Added to that, Olga Franco, a professional from Fedegan Epidemiological Follow-up Coordination, mentions that vaccination cannot be stopped and wide coverage of it must be achieved. This is a challenge for any country in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which, in fact, presents alarming figures in Colombia and Latin America.
According to FEDEGAN reports, to date, more than 60% of the entire bovine and buffalo population of Colombia has been vaccinated. In the report for the week of November 9 to December 13, 425,298 farms have been immunized, that is, 18,668,982 cattle and buffalo have been vaccinated for foot-and-mouth disease.
However, it is also used to immunize some farms against Brucella sp., A bacterial disease of great importance because it causes abortions, stillbirths, and a drop in milk production. Furthermore, brucellosis is a zoonotic disease that puts the health of farmers and veterinarians at risk. Regarding the brucellosis vaccine, 162,777 herds have been immunized, that is, 835,314 of vaccinated female cattle.
According to the OIE map, updated in June 2020, the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Status for South America is as follows:
- Countries free of foot-and-mouth disease WITHOUT vaccination: Argentina (southern zone), Chile, Bolivia, Suriname, Guyana, and Guyana France.
- Countries free of foot-and-mouth disease WITH vaccination: Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina (North zone), Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru.