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In 1999, FMD type O outbreaks were reported from Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

FMD type A outbreaks were reported from Georgia, Iran and Turkey. The WRL has reported that a new type A strain (A/Iran/99) has been identified in Iran. Its characterization by nucleotide sequencing indicated a significant difference in the sequence of the genecoding for the structural protein, VP1, in comparison with previous isolates, including A/Iran/96. The new type A (A/Iran/99) outbreaks in Turkey were located close to the borders with Iran and Georgia and were significantly different from the A/Iran/96 virus which is still causing outbreaks in Turkey and the standard vaccine strain (A Mahmatli) that is used in Turkey. The All-Russian Research Institute for Animal Health (ARRIAH), Vladimir, Russian Federation reported that the A virus responsible for the outbreaks in Georgia was analogous to A/Iran/96.

FMD type Asia 1 outbreaks were reported in Iran in September. This is the first report of Asia 1 in Iran since 1991. Asia 1 has also been reported in Turkey: first in Agri Province close to Iran in November and two outbreaks in Ankara Province in December.

FAO and the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease have taken action to prevent further extension of the new virus westwards and northwards. A US$340 000 joint TCP project for Iran and Turkey was started in December 1999 to reinforce and coordinate measures for the control of FMD in the two countries by improving surveillance, vaccine quality and global control strategy.

The European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease and the EC are providing financial support (US$340 000) to ARRIAH for the establishment of a buffer zone in the Caucasian region. Preventive vaccination zones against types O and A were established in 1999 in the Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation and in the districts of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia along the borders with Turkey and Iran. Vaccination against Asia 1 should also be carried out in the spring of 2000. Activities in the region are coordinated under the FAO/EC/OIE tripartite group, as shown in the figure above. (Source: EUFMD.)

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