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Indonesia lawmakers call for push to curb spread of foot and mouth disease

CNA – Indonesia’s government reported yesterday that more than 20,000 livestock had been infected by foot and mouth disease in 16 provinces, as lawmakers urged authorities to find the source of the virus and ramp up efforts to prevent further spread.

The infections have spread since the Agriculture Ministry reported cases in two provinces less than two weeks ago.

Local media reported around 1,600 animals were infected in East Java and 1,200 in Aceh province.

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo told a parliamentary hearing yesterday that 20,723 livestock had been infected in 16 provinces as of last week. He said these provinces had a total livestock population of around 13.8 million.

Lawmakers at the hearing urged the government to investigate the origin of the infection, slamming authorities for letting the virus spread across the country for the first time since around late 1980s.

The infections have spread at a time when Indonesia is facing rising meat prices and ahead of Aidiladha, when Muslims slaughter animals and share the meat with the poor.

Lawmaker Anggia Erma Rini said vaccines were urgently needed to tackle the outbreak.