Mauritius received a consignment of some 182,200 foot-and-mouth disease vaccines, this Saturday, at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, through the SEGA - One Health network of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) to contain the epidemic which is affecting herds in Rodrigues.
This initiative also involves the collaboration of the Agence française de développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU). The project aims to strengthen sanitary security at the regional level and mitigate the effects of epidemics and pandemics.
The vaccines were received by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, in the presence of several personalities, including, the Secretary General of the IOC, Prof. Vêlayoudom Marimoutou; the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Mauritius, Mr Vincent Degert; the Ambassador of France, Ms Florence Caussé-Tissier; and the Director of the Agence française de développement (AFD), Mr André Pouillès-Duplaix.
The consignment of vaccines will serve for the first two sessions of vaccination of herds in Mauritius and Rodrigues after a suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease was reported on 10 March 2021 to the Ministry of Agro-industry and Food Security by the Rodrigues Agriculture Commission.
In a statement, Minister Gobin expressed gratitude towards the IOC as well as the EU and AFD for this gesture. He reiterated the continuous support of these organisations towards Mauritius while adding that the country can rely on the collaboration of the IOC, a privileged partner of the country, since it responded promptly in the provision of doses of vaccines to contain and control the foot-and-mouth disease in Rodrigues.
He also added that initially 100,000 vaccines will be shipped to Rodrigues for the vaccination of herds while the remaining will be used in Mauritius to prevent the proliferation of the disease among the cattle. He also lauded Rodrigues for containing the spread of the disease in Saint Gabriel where the first case was detected.
For the Secretary General of the IOC, Prof. Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, this gesture demonstrates a concrete and worthy contribution with regard to regional action in public health supported by AFD and the EU. This action, he stated, reminds the world that health risks are multiple and that in addition to human health they also affect animal and environmental health. "More than 75% of emerging diseases are of animal origin," he added.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease of ruminants with significant economic repercussions. The disease affects not only cattle, sheep, and goats but also wild animals, especially deer. It is mainly manifested by vesicles and ulcers in the mouth, the mammary region, and the feet.