Faulty vaccine caused foot-and-mouth outbreak: Paraguay

A botched vaccine intended to protect Paraguay's livestock against foot-and-mouth disease was responsible for transmitting the ailment to hundreds of animals that later had to be destroyed, the government said Tuesday.

After extensive , Paraguayan and international scientists concluded that "human error" and "negligence" in the production of the vaccine caused the outbreak last September, a top veterinary official here said.

"After the most recent , we have confirmed that the outbreak of ... came about as a result of problems with the vaccination of animals," said Daniel Rojas, head of Paraguay's National Service for Animal Health and Quality.

"There now is no doubt that it was human error that led to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth," he said.

The affected animals were at the Santa Helena ranch, a hacienda some 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Asuncion, in the department of San Pedro.

Authorities said all told, more than a thousand cattle had to be sacrificed during the outbreak, which sent tremors through a region that prizes its meat industry.

Officials said they have not yet determined who would be held accountable for the costly mistake..

"We still have to identify at what stage in the process the problem occurred, determine who was responsible for the mistake and punish them," Rojas said, adding that the outbreak "led to significant economic losses for the country."

The prompted neighboring countries to ban the import of Paraguayan meat, livestock, and meat by-products to prevent the spread of the disease across international boundaries.

The export ban was a major blow to tiny, mostly rural Paraguay, where beef is the number two export, totaling $650 million last year.

Officials estimate that the ban costs the economy some $70 million each month.

One of the most contagious animal diseases known to scientists, foot-and-mouth (also known as hoof-and-mouth) disease infects mainly cattle and swine but also sheep and goats.

The disease can be spread with dust, animal-to-animal in herds, through consumption of contaminated animal products and even with farm implements and vehicles.

Although adult animals normally do not die from the disease, they must be destroyed once infected to keep it from spreading.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Health care M&A leads global deal surge

2 hours ago

In a big year for deal making, the health care industry is a standout. Large drugmakers are buying and selling businesses to control costs and deploy surplus cash. A rising stock market, tax strategies and ...

US approves new, hard-to-abuse hydrocodone pill (Update)

Nov 20, 2014

U.S. government health regulators on Thursday approved the first hard-to-abuse version of the painkiller hydrocodone, offering an alternative to a similar medication that has been widely criticized for lacking ...

Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

Nov 20, 2014

Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington ...

Only half of patients take their medications as prescribed

Nov 20, 2014

The cost of patients not taking their medications as prescribed can be substantial in terms of their health. Although a large amount of research evidence has tried to address this problem, there are no well-established ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.