Argentina Bolsters Protection Against FMD

Following an outbreak in Bolivia, measures to prevent foot and mouth disease in neighbouring Argentina, the world's third biggest beef exporter, are being stepped up.

According to a report published by Reuters, Senasa, Argentina's food and animal health inspection service, said in a statement: "Due to the three outbreaks of foot-and-mouth detected in the Santa Cruz province of Bolivia, the alert declared in October 2005 will remain in place and be strengthened."

The alert imposed in 2005 after an outbreak in neighbouring Brazil - the world's biggest beef supplier - steps up border controls and suspends certain imports in a bid to stop the highly contagious virus from spreading.

Authorities in Brazil said Bolivia had suspended meat and dairy exports due to the outbreak in the eastern province of Santa Cruz and Brazil has re-inforced controls in border areas.

In April 2006 Argentina claimed it had eradicated foot-and-mouth disease following a programme of vaccination and slaughtering in northern Corrientes province, where an outbreak two months earlier had sparked some bans on Argentine beef.