Tongan authorities fear Taiwan container carries FMD

Quarantine officials in Tonga were concerned the discovery of a container of counterfeit raw and cooked meat in Nuku’alofa last week might have brought foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) to Tonga.

The container’s manifest detailed its contents as frozen fish however quarantine officers found discrepancies, local media reported. 

It says the 20 ft meat container had no health certificate and the manifest was written in Chinese only, a local newspaper reported.

The owner of the container was a Taiwanese man who lives in Tonga and the officers said they also found dumplings which filled about 40 percent of the container.

Deputy Director for MAFF, Dr Viliami Kami said they destroyed the raw meat and some other stuff in fear they might have been carrying FMD diseases, Radio Tonga reported.

Kami said they’ve released the cooked meat to the owner, according to the Radio.

They found out from the investigation there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Taiwan and has spread over the country up to last year, he said.

Kami also said they took this action to protect the safety of Tonga’s livestock.

Mouth and Foot Disease

According to BBC, "it is a virus which affects animals – very few human cases have ever been recorded.

"It is endemic in animals in many parts of the world including Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America.

"The disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, in particular cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer.

"Other animals that can be affected include llamas and alpacas, some wild animals such as hedgehogs and coypu, any wild cloven-footed animals including deer, and zoo animals such as elephants.

"It has serious implications for animal health and for the economics of the livestock industry.

"There are seven different foot-and-mouth disease types – O, A, C, SAT-1, SAT-2, SAT-3 and Asia-1. They show some regionality, with the O type most common.

"Foot-and-mouth disease cannot be cured and usually lasts for two to three weeks before the animal recovers naturally".

Taiwan

Pig Site  website says "two outbreaks of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) have been reported in pigs in Taiwan within in October 2012.

"The veterinary authority sent an Immediate Notification dated 29 October to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

"The first outbreak started on 24 September at Yuanshan Township in the I-Lan region in north-east Taiwan. A total of 962 pigs were involved, of which, there were 245 cases and 381 animals were destroyed.

"The second outbreak started in the same town on 3 October. Of the 888 pigs on that farm, there were 144 cases".

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