USDA, the United Nations,
and Pakistan Unite to Fight FMD
Winborne, Plant Health Advisor,
APHIS International Services, US Embassy Islamabad
Muhammad Afzal of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) holds up a bottle of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
vaccine to show what happens when the cold chain is broken.
The vaccine is spoiled, cloudy with precipitates and no
longer effective. Fortunately, this was a test bottle and
500,000 additional doses of vaccine are safely stored in a
modern cold room provided by USDA as part of its Program for
the Progressive Control of FMD in Pakistan.
Millions of people in
Pakistan rely on animals to provide much needed food and
Unfortunately, most of the
approximately 119 million livestock in Pakistan receive
little or no routine veterinary care and disease outbreaks
are a common problem. FMD affects millions of cattle, water
buffalo, and yaks in Pakistan each year.
The disease decreases milk production, causes stillbirths,
and can cause the death of valuable livestock, particularly
The USDA Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) International Services
(IS) advisors stationed in Islamabad work closely with Dr.
Afzal, his staff at FAO, and counterparts in the Pakistani
government to lay the groundwork for control of FMD in
The program focuses on
educating field veterinarians and laboratory staff on the
latest diagnostic and sampling techniques, monitoring
outbreaks of FMD, providing essential equipment, and
demonstrating to farmers that FMD vaccination is a safe and
effective way to maintain healthy herds and increase
The project works to control
FMD in all provinces and territories in Pakistan; from the
southern port city of Karachi to the Himalayan city of
Gilgit, from Lahore in the east to Quetta in the west.
Some parts of Pakistan have
dairy cows that most Americans would recognize, however
Pakistanis also produce significant amounts of buffalo milk.
These animals are frequently seen in the warmer areas of the
country. In the mountains, yaks are the primary dairy animal
and provide “everything except eggs” to the local economy.
Since the project was started
in 2011, the project team has visited villages and dairy
farms around the country to deliver vaccinations, take blood
samples, and educate farmers about the value of vaccination.
More than 100,000 dairy cows,
buffalo and yaks have been vaccinated for FMD, and thousands
of farmers have learned the value of vaccination to increase
Control of FMD also requires
modern infrastructure. To support the FMD control program,
USDA also provided cold rooms that store the vaccine, a
critical component in keeping the vaccine potent and
The FMD control program has
also upgraded seven regional diagnostic laboratories with
modern equipment to quickly and accurately diagnose FMD.In
conjunction with the laboratory equipment, APHIS IS also
provides training for the highly motivated Pakistani staff
in the United States.