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Foot and mouth fears prompt cattle quarantine in south Malaysia
Updated: 2005-12-15 11:42

Malaysian authorities quarantined about 500 cattle at a southern Malaysian farm and banned the shipment of thousands more after animals there showed signs of foot and mouth disease, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Some 194 cattle at the farm in Sinaran Baru village in Johor state were showing signs of the disease and all 500 at the farm will be kept isolated until the results of tests on tissue samples are returned, state Veterinary Director Fauziah Embong told The Star newspaper.

Authorities also imposed a transport ban on animals from 37 other farms within a five-kilometer (three-mile) radius of the quarantined farm _ amounting to about 9,000 head of cattle _ to prevent the possible spread of infection, the report said.

No outsiders will be allowed into the affected farm, and vehicles leaving it were being sprayed with disinfectant, the report added.

A veterinary department spokeswoman confirmed the report, but declined to provide further details. She said the department's director-general, Hawari Hussein, was discussing the matter with Fauziah.

"This is urgent for us, although the disease is still only suspected," she told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in accordance with department policy. "We are running the necessary tests."

Foot and mouth disease affects cloven-footed animals, causing blisters on their mouths and feet. It is not usually fatal, but authorities generally slaughter animals to stop its spread. The disease is not known to be a threat to humans.

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