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Reports Archive: 33rd session – Appendix 6


Report on Foot-and-Mouth Disease in TUNISIA

from the 13th March to the 5th April 1999


1. Regulations

  • Foot-and-Mouth Disease is considered legally as a contagious disease.

  • As such, it is subjected to the legislative and lawful provisions fixed by the decree n°84-1225 of October 16, 1984 (relating to the nomenclature of animal diseases considered contagious and to the general control measures used against these diseases) and by the decree of the Minister for the Agriculture of November 21, 1984 (organising the control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease).



2. Total Livestock Numbers

The national herd consists of 5 518 000 sheep (including 3 942 000 ewes), 1 103 000 goats (including 788 000 females) and 443 000 bovines (cows, heifers and young cattle of more than 3 months of age).



3. Serotypes Identified

During the last two decades, serotypes O and A have been identified in Tunisia in the following periods:

The determination of the phylogenic profile of the strain isolated in March 1999 is underway at the World Reference Laboratory. Its antigenic study showed that it is close to the O Manisa strain.



4. Vaccination


  • Before December 1989 (Foot-and-Mouth Disease epidemic in sheep) vaccination against this disease was carried out only in cattle.

  • Since that time, vaccination was extended to sheep, goats and to a lesser extent camels.

  • Vaccination of cattle, sheep and goats take place in organised annual campaigns, during the period October to January.

  • The vaccination campaigns are free. They are covered by the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and implemented by the Veterinary Service.

  • The vaccine used in cattle and camels is a trivalent (O, A, C) vaccine, while that used in small ruminants is a monovalent (O) vaccine. The O valance used in the trivalent vaccine and in the monovalent type O vaccine, is the vaccine isolated in Tunisia in December 1989.

  • Since the epizootic of December 1989, 10 national vaccination campaigns against Foot-and-Mouth Disease have been carried out with an average rate of vaccination cover of 65% in the small ruminant and of 73% in cattle.




5. Evaluation of the Vaccination Campaigns


  • 2 serosurveys with the objective of evaluating the protection conferred by the vaccination campaigns were carried out in Tunisia.

  • The first investigation, carried out in 1990 with a representative sample of animals having blood samples taken 30 days after vaccination, gave the following results:



Titre ³ 200

Titre > 60

Bovine adults

Young bovines

Ovine adults

Young ovines










  • The 2nd serosurvey, which took place in 1995 with the collaboration of the WRL, allowed the determination of the following percentages of ovines protected (considering a titre of 100 as protective)

  • Day 0 43%

  • Day 30 72%

  • Day 180 59%




6. Sanitary Situation from the 13 March to the 5 April 1999

  • No new outbreak has been detected since March 13, 1999.

  • All susceptible animals in the two outbreaks, confirmed on the 2 and 12 March 1999, were slaughtered and the farms concerned were cleaned and disinfected.



7. Control Measures Taken

1. As from February 23, 1999:

As of the receipt of information from OIE indicating the existence of a vesicular-type disease in Algeria, the following measures were taken:

  • Communication of information to the regional veterinary services of the 23 gouvernorats and to private veterinary surgeons

  • Control of the movements of animals along the borders

  • Prospective inspections of dairy farms, cattle markets and slaughter-houses in the border gouvernorats.

2. As from February 25, 1999:

Following the declaration of the first outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Algeria, the measures indicated below were reinforced and supplemented by the following actions:

  • Meeting of the vigilance committee vis-à-vis Foot-and-Mouth Disease.

  • Communication of information relating to the confirmation of FMD in Algeria to the regional veterinary services of the 23 gouvernorats, to private veterinary surgeons and stockbreeders organisations.

  • Evaluation of the stocks of vaccine available on a central scale and a regional scale.

  • Launching of a booster vaccination campaign of cattle, sheep and goats in the border gouvernorats.

3. As from March 2, 1999 :

Following the confirmation by the IRVT, on March 2, 1999, of the first outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Tunisia, all measures taken previously (notably booster vaccination) were extended to all the territory.

NB: booster vaccination of all bovines and small ruminants whose last vaccination was more than three months previously. On April 3, 1999, a total of 193 686 bovines and 1 083 628 small ruminants were vaccinated out of 313 960 bovines and 2 102 000 small ruminants envisaged, which corresponds to a rate of realisation of 62% for bovines and 52% for small ruminants. The respective quantities of vaccine acquired for this campaign contain the strain O Manisa in accordance with the recommendations of the WRL, Pirbright.



8. Evolution of the situation

The situation, which is currently under control, will most probably develop in a favourable way for the following reasons:

  • speed in the implementation of conservative measures and control measures

  • good vaccine cover of bovine, ovine and caprine populations (annual vaccination campaigns since 1989/1990).

  • reinforcement of vaccine protection by the booster vaccination currently underway

  • availability of laboratory diagnosis at national level

  • slaughter of almost 500 000 sheep at the time of the Aid El IDHHA on March 27, 1999.



9. Importation

During the last 12 months, imports of animals of susceptible species and their products are distributed as follows:

Fraudulent introductions of sheep coming from Algeria are noted.

Summary Chart of Outbreaks of Foot-and Mouth Disease up to April 5, 1999.

Click here for image.


































* All the susceptible animals at the outbreak were slaughtered

** In addition to the 7 sheep listed in the farm at the time of the visit of the veterinary surgeon, the farmer reported the death of 2 lambs during the week preceding this visit.



FMD Outbreak 1


Updated on April 5, 1999

Geographical Location

Cattle sheds belonging to a fattener, located approximately 3 km from the town of Grombalia, gouvernorat of Nabeul.

First observation of disease

  • Date: Monday 1st March 1999

  • Visit by the district veterinary surgeon following a call from the owner

  • Existing population on the farm: 28 cattle and 110 sheep

  • Cattle: 23 male “Pie-noire” cattle (23 bullocks aged from 18 to 24 months) and 5 bovine females (2 cull cows of the local breed, 2 heifers – one of which was of the local breed and a 6 month old calf).

  • Sheep: a follower ewe and 108 male and female lambs from approximately 6 to 10 months old, the majority of which were of the breed “queue fine de l’ouest”.

  • Symptoms and lesions of Foot-and-Mouth Disease were found on 5 bovines (4 bullocks and 1 heifer).

Second visit

  • Date: Tuesday 2 March 1999

  • Observation of symptoms and lesions of Foot-and-Mouth Disease on 12 other bovines (bullocks).

  • Observation of lameness in 5 sheep (presence of ulcerous lesions at the level of the interdigital space that had secondary infections).

  • Samples of vesicular epithelium (bovine) and blood (13 bovines and 5 sheep) were taken.

  • Confirmation of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (virus type O) by IRVT (ELISA) at the end of the afternoon of March 2, 1999.

  • Forwarding of a aliquot of all the samples taken (of bovine lingual epithelium) to the WRL, Pirbright on March 3, 1999.

Third visit:

  • Date: Wednesday March 3, 1999.

  • Observation of 5 new cases of FMD

  • Blood sampling of 77 sheep.

Regulatory measures taken:

  • Legal basis: decree n°84-1225, 16 October 1984 relating to the MLRC and decree of the Minister for the Agriculture of 21 November 1984 specific to the control of FMD

  • Promulgation of a decree of infection by the governor of Nabeul.

  • At the outbreak, recounting and illegal movement of the animals was forbidden: 1st March 1999.

  • Slaughter of all the animals (28 bovines and 110 sheep) over two visits.

  • Destruction of the litter and the manure.

  • Cleaning and disinfection on March 9 1999.

  • Ring booster vaccination (cattle, sheep, goats): starting March 3, 1999.

Epidemiological Data:

  • The origin of 26 of the 28 cattle was identified. The last introduction of bovine animals to the farm (18 fattening bullocks from two large farms) was carried out on the 22 February 1999.

  • The batch of 110 sheep consisted of purchases carried out on various dates, the last of which went back to February 22 at a livestock market in Tunis.

  • No introduction of animals to the farm was carried out after the 22 February 1999.

  • During the period from February 22 to March 1 1999, four bullocks which originated from another farm, left the premises for a slaughter-house in the area.

  • All the farms of origin of the cattle were visited between the 2nd and the 4th March, no clinical signs of FMD were observed there and they were placed under surveillance

  • The affected bullocks had been vaccinated only once, a vaccination carried out in December 1997 – January 1998.

Vaccination of livestock in the region of Grombalia

  • The last anti-FMD vaccination campaign carried out in the district of Grombalia began on September 15, 1998 and was completed on January 14 1999.

  • A total population of 2 955 cattle (84%), 20 015 sheep (83%) and 2 072 goats (41%) was vaccinated during this campaign.



FMD Outbreak 2


Updated on April 5, 1999

Geographical Location

Cattle sheds belonging to a farmer, located 5 km from the Tunisia-Algeria border, beside the road connecting Ghardimaou to the frontier station of Jlaïel, Delegation of Ghardimaou, gouvernorat of Jendouba.

  • Date: Thursday 11 March 1999.

  • Visit carried out by the district veterinary surgeon.

  • Existing population on the farm: 2 cattle and 7 sheep.

  • Cattle: a crossbreed cow and her daughter (one heifer).

  • Sheep: two rams, 3 ewes and 2 lambs approximately 2 months old of the “queue fine de l’ouest” breed.

  • Symptoms and lesions of Foot-and-Mouth Disease were present on the heifer and the sheep (lameness in the rams and a lamb).

  • Sampling of vesicular epithelium and blood from the heifer and blood from the sheep.

Laboratory Confirmation

  • Confirmation of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (virus type O) by IRVT (ELISA) on March 12, 1999 at the beginning of the afternoon

  • Aliquots of the samples (lingual epithelium) will be dispatched to the WRL, Pirbright.

Regulatory measures taken:

  • Legal basis: decree n°84-1225, 16 October 1984 relating to the MLRC and decree of the Minister for the Agriculture of 21 November 1984 specific to the control of FMD

  • Promulgation of a decree of infection by the governor of Jendouba.

  • At the outbreak, recounting and illegal movement of the animals was forbidden: 12th March 1999.

  • Slaughter of all susceptible animals at the outbreak.

  • Cleaning and disinfection at the outbreak.

Epidemiological Data

  • Sedentary Farm

  • No introduction of susceptible animals (cattle, sheep and goats) for approximately one year.

  • The animals on the farm had not been vaccinated during the campaign of 1998 (October – December).

  • According to the farmer, the lameness began approximately one week before the date of the first visit of the veterinary surgeon and the death of 2 lambs approximately two months old was also recorded during this period.


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