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News: Iraq livestock crisis; mortality figures for January

*       Foot-and-mouth disease ravages Iraq's livestock and threatens
the region (Arabic News)
*       Over 10,000 Iraqi children and elderly died of malnutrition in
January (Arabic News)

Disease ravages Iraq's live stock and source of protein, threatens
Arabic News, Iraq, Health, 3/29/99

The general manager of veterinarian department in the Iraqi Ministry of
Agriculture, Fadel Abass, announced that Iraq requires urgent help to
combat foot-and-mouth disease that has led to the death of more than
million sheep till now. He also stated that the germ causing
foot-and-mouth disease is spreading quickly, and he called on
international organizations to present urgent aid.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expressed grave concern
on February 10 "that the outbreak of animal diseases in Iraq may spread
to other countries in the Near East seriously undermining food security
in the region." FAO warned "The multitude of diseases afflicting
livestock in Iraq threatens the health of people living in infested
areas and could seriously undermine food security in the countries of
the Near East. "

The UN agency added "FAO is gravely concerned that the outbreak of
animal diseases in Iraq may spread to other countries in the Near East.
The diseases include the Old World screwworm, foot-and-mouth disease,
peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and brucellosis. Except for
brucellosis, which is endemic to the region, the diseases may easily
spread to neighboring countries."

The UN agency said "Iraq would need to import the vaccines required to
fight foot-and-mouth disease and PPR. The vaccines are made from
inactive or incapacitated disease agents, which cannot be used for other
purposes. Procurement of the vaccines and their timely delivery is vital
to safeguarding animal health, which is an essential component of food
security in the region. The animal disease situation in Iraq has been
aggravated by the collapse of the veterinary infrastructure and disease
investigation, surveillance and diagnostic services in the country. The
government has been unable to adequately monitor and control the spread
of these diseases, partly because of the difficulties it has in
obtaining equipment and supplies, particularly vaccines. As a result the
Iraqi government has repeatedly sought the assistance of FAO to deal
with the outbreaks. Given the potential adverse repercussions of the
animal diseases on the countries that border Iraq, FAO Director-General
Jacques Diouf met with permanent representatives to FAO from concerned
countries on 29 January. The meeting, at FAO Headquarters, discussed the
current state of the epidemic diseases in Iraq and measures taken by the
Organization to contain and eradicate the diseases. It also urged
countries in the region to be vigilant and to step up precautionary
disease monitoring and control measures."

The Iraqi official Abass said that since several months ago the disease
caused the ruin of more than one million sheep and 150,000 calves. He
added that inspection and supervision groups affiliated to the United
Nation in charge of disarming Iraq (UNSCOM) destroyed the facilities
producing the vaccine for this disease. He said this disease has
afflicted sheep and quickly spread due to a lack of protective and
treatment requirements resulting from economic sanctions.

Over 10,000 Iraqi children and elderly died of malnutrition
Arabic News, Iraq, Health, 3/15/99

More than 10,000 Iraqi children and elderly died last January of
malnutrition against 766 lives claimed during the same month in 1989.
The Iraqi health department said some 9,162 children and elderly died
last February in Iraq against 835 recorded during the same month in 1989
before the enforcement of the UN sanctions against Baghdad in 1990 after
the Gulf War.

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