The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and its local and international partners earlier today hosted a workshop in Mabaruma, North West District, Region One to prepare for a simulation exercise to test the readiness of Guyana’s systems to contain an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) locally.
According to Dr. Dwight Walrond of GLDA, the simulation exercise planned for tomorrow, Saturday, May 12, is intended to evaluate the applicability of the emergency preparedness plan. It will test the ability of GLDA to respond to an emergency, to rapidly contain the possible spread of the suspected disease from the focal farm while at the same time establishing the origin of the disease and the extent of its spread, using epidemiological methods according to the preparedness plan.
Meanwhile, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Consultant, Doctor Mariano Bonet said the simulation exercise is in keeping with the requirement of the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), that such exercises be held every two years by countries which are deemed free of foot and mouth disease with or without vaccination.
“Sometimes when we come to these exercises we cannot foresee what is next but there is a good reason why the OIE is exigent that every two years that country that is free of FMD have biannual exercises and put in practice the response plan because if we don’t detect and stop rapidly, foot and mouth disease … fire in the country”, Dr. Saraiva said.
In addition, the Foot and Mouth Disease Specialist said the simulation exercise is important to test the country’s response readiness because “the north area of South America since May 22 is under a declaration of the PAHO Health Director Dr. Carissa Etienne … [there] is an emergency situation in four countries Venezuela, Brazil Colombia and Guyana because there are two epidemics in Venezuela and two in Brazil that are very challenging for the four countries.
The simulation exercise is set to commence at 6:00hrs, Saturday, May 12 and will involve representatives from the GLDA, Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Regional Administration and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) among others.
Foot and mouth is a highly contagious viral disease which causes illness in cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer and other susceptible animals with divided hooves. It is a worldwide concern because of its ability to destroy entire flocks of animals leaving seriously negative socio-economic impacts behind.