Tale of two farmers
Kizilcikdere, Turkey - Near Tekirdag City, the farm of Çetin Gamture, 34, was one of the first places the new strain of FMD appeared in Thrace during the 2006 outbreak.
"I bought two cows at the Havsa animal market. They checked out as healthy, but after I got them back here they became sick," he says.
For Gamture, the cost of caring for sick animals and disinfecting his premises was dear: he estimates he lost about 10 000 Turkish lira (around US$6 800), nearly a third of the 25 000 lira he makes per year.
Further north, in Kizilcikdere, farmer Erol Özer, 54, bought a new cow from one of the many small-scale dealers that operate from the backs of their trucks, buying and selling animals from farm to farm.
"It looked fine at first. But then lesions in its mouths showed up, and a fever started. I think maybe the dealer did something to cover up the sickness," he speculates.
In the end, all 17 of his animals were put down. "I was sad about it, but I had to act, to do my best to stop it from spreading to my neighbours," Özer says.
Luckily the government paid him fair market value for the culled animals, and he was able to restart his herd.
"I obeyed their recommendations, including that I kill the cows. I was a little worried about that, but I kept hopeful that I would be compensated. I was, and I decided to start over again from the beginning," he says.
A vector problem
According to Dr Naci Bulut of Turkey's national FMD Institute markets like that at Havsa are a problem in spreading the disease, and so are small-scale dealers like the one that Mr. Özer dealt with.
"The movement of animals from regions in the east -- where they are grazed in communal herds in the highlands on our eastern borders, which lets FMD filter in to Turkey -- to the west, where they are bought and sold, is a problem," he says. "In the markets and trucks animals are crowded together, so healthy cows are exposed to sick ones. Trucks, stalls and other equipment become contaminated. Traders inspecting the mouths of animals pass the virus along."
"If we can get good controls on the movement of animals then we've won half the battle," Bulut argues, adding: "Immediate quarantine and culling of sick animals is now obligatory in Thrace. We're making progress."
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