A new strain of Foot and Mouth Disease which has reportedly infected vaccinated livestock herds has emerged in Kyrgyzstan.
The country is working to contain the outbreak which has killed 3000-4000 cattle so far this year, UK-based website Global Meat News reported last Friday.
Samples of the strain have been sent to Russia for testing.
Kyrgyzstan minister Ravshan Jeenbekov said the Government has to find a new vaccine and warned that farmers were facing a difficult situation this northern hemisphere autumn if nothing is done.
The news site said the discovery of the unknown strain has disturbed veterinary services in neighbouring countries.
The FMD situation has gradually worsened in the region since 2008, with every member country of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) dealing with outbreaks since that time, except for the Ukraine.
Russia has recorded two FMD outbreaks since the start of 2012 and Kazakhstan nine. In May the Global Meat News reported that the disease was “running riot” in Krygyzstan, where vaccine availability was limited and farmers were reportedly selling infected animals at markets, which was worsening its spread.
Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkoznadzor) has stated that if the country does not correct the situation in neighbouring states, epidemics could become overwhelming in Russia, and spread to the rest of Europe.
Global Meat News said the main threat to Russia remained the possibility of importing the virus from Kazakhstan. An immune buffer zone had been created on the large land border between the two countries, where authorities planned to vaccinate 500,000 animals each year.
Russia was also reported to be sending more than 100,000 vaccinations to Krgyzstan.
Russia has increased imports of breeding cattle from Australia, the US and Canada (and Europe until imports were halted in March this year due to the widespread Schmallenberg virus outbreak), in line with a stated Government policy to achieve self-sufficiency in beef production by 2018.