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FMD_ Ireland_ March 2001

CEI LogoFoot and Mouth Disease, The Republic of Ireland,
March 23, 2001
Impact Worksheet


On March 22, 2001, the Republic of Ireland reported its first outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) since 1941. The outbreak is located on a sheep farm 3 km from the border with Northern Ireland in the area adjacent to the confirmed FMD outbreak in Northern Ireland. All animals on the farm have been destroyed and animals on surrounding operations are expected to be destroyed. Surveillance in the area had already been heightened due to the ongoing outbreaks of FMD in the United Kingdom.

Ireland exports sizeable numbers of live cattle, pigs, and sheep primarily to other European countries. Ireland also exports significant quantities of beef and veal, pork, and mutton and lamb. These exports are also primarily to other European countries. Egypt and Russia have been important markets for Irish beef and veal. Japan has been a major market for Irish pork products.

The US imported no live ruminants or swine from the Republic of Ireland during 2000 and January-February 2001. Prior to the current FMD outbreak, imports into the US of live ruminants and ruminant products from Ireland had already been prohibited because of BSE. In 2000, the US imported other products that could potentially present a risk for FMD. These products include fresh/frozen pork, preserved meats, animal feeds, dairy products and hides.

The USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has intensified its ongoing measures to exclude the FMD virus from the US, including (1) temporary import bans on animals and animal products from all countries in the European Union, (2) heightened alerts, disinfection protocols, and traveler education campaigns at US airports and other ports of entry, and (3) disinfection procedures for US imports of agricultural equipment from European Union countries.

How extensive is the situation in the affected country and what was the country’s disease status prior to the outbreak?

The Republic of Ireland reported an outbreak of foot and mouth disease to the OIE on March 22, 2001. The last recorded case of FMD in Ireland occurred in 1941. The March 2001 outbreak occurred on a sheep farm near Jenkinstown in County Louth (see map). The farm is located 3 km from the border with Northern Ireland in the area adjacent to the outbreak confirmed in Northern Ireland in early March. All 138 sheep on the farm have been destroyed. Additional animals in the area adjacent to the infected farm will also be destroyed. Surveillance had already been heightened in that part of Ireland due to the outbreaks of FMD in the United Kingdom. FMD Ireland

Source: OIE Disease Information Report, news reports

What is the country’s place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?

Ireland (The Republic of Ireland) had 6.7 million cattle, 1.7 million swine, and 5.4 million sheep in year 2000 (Table 1) . These numbers represent less than 1.0 percent of world stocks for each of the three species.

Ireland exported more than 320,000 head of live cattle in 1999 which represented more than 3 percent of total world cattle exports. Nearly 50 percent of Ireland's live cattle exports in 1999 were sent to Spain, approximately 20 percent each went to Lebanon and Italy, and another 12 percent were sent to the Netherlands. Ireland imports very few live cattle with 379 head imported in 1999.

Ireland has been a major exporter of beef and veal exporting nearly 500,000 metric tons in 1999 (approximately 7 percent of total world trade). Nearly 50 percent of Ireland's beef and veal exports in 1999 were sent to other EU countries, approximately 20 percent went to Egypt and 10 percent to Russia. In 1999, Ireland imported a small quantity of beef from the UK and other EU countries, Brazil, Uruguay, and New Zealand.

Ireland exported 244,000 head of live swine in 1999 primarily to the United Kingdom and other EU countries. Imports of live swine totaled only 3,688 head in 1999. Approximately 75 percent of Ireland's pork exports are sent to EU countries (primarily the UK), 13 percent to Japan and less than 5 percent each to Hong Kong, Russia, and the US. In 1999, Ireland imported 30,000 metric tons of pig meat almost entirely from EU countries.

Ireland exported 203,000 head of sheep in 1999. Mutton and lamb exports from Ireland totaled 55,000 metric tons which represented 6 percent of the world trade in mutton and lamb. Destination data for Ireland's live sheep and mutton and lamb exports was not available. Ireland imported 25 sheep and 1,500 metric tons of mutton and lamb in 1999.

Table 1. Production and trade in live animals and animal products, Ireland, 2000 (Production) and 1999 (Trade).


% of World

Live animal stocks (# head)







Production (Mt)

Beef and veal



Pig meat



Mutton and lamb



Live animal imports (# head)








Live animal exports (# head)









Product imports (Mt)

Beef and veal



Pig meat



Mutton and lamb



Product exports (Mt)

Beef and veal

Pig meat



Mutton and lamb



Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization; *USDA, FAS, Attache Report, July 31, 2000 .

What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from the country?

Imports into the US of live ruminants and most ruminant products from the Republic of Ireland have been prohibited because of BSE. Fresh or frozen pork was imported from Ireland both during 1999 and 2000 (Table 2). Other products that could potentially present a risk for transmission of FMD were imported during 1999 and 2000. These products include prepared or preserved meat, animal feeds, dairy products, and hides.

Table 2. US imports of animal products from The Republic of Ireland during years 1999 and 2000.






Meat (quantity)

Pork, fresh or frozen (kg)



Other products - (quantity, number)

Animal feeds (kg)



Dairy products (kg)



Hides & skins (not tanned), wool (number)



Prepared or preserved meat (kg)



Source: World Trade Atlas, December 2000.

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from the affected country?

Mechanical transmission of FMD virus is important because the amount of virus present on shoes or clothes is generally sufficient for the infective dose. Thus, passengers themselves are significant in addition to the amount of potentially contaminated product that passengers may carry.

In fiscal year 2000 (October 1999 - September 2000), a total of 4,148 flights (commercial and charter) arrived in the US from Ireland carrying over 660,000 passengers. A total of 1,982 passengers from Ireland were sampled as part of APHIS/PPQ’s Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Monitoring in fiscal year 1999. Of these passengers from Ireland, 323 (16%) were carrying a total of 828 kg of potentially hazardous items such as meat products, cheese, or hides. Four (4) of the sampled passengers from Ireland who were carrying potentially hazardous items were planning to visit or work on a farm or ranch while in the US. The reported destination of these four passengers was New York.

Source: US Dept of Transportation; US Dept of Commerce; APHIS-PPQ Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Monitoring data base

What actions has USDA taken relative to the foot and mouth outbreaks in the European Union?

In light of the recent outbreaks of FMD in the European Union, the USDA, APHIS has intensified its year round safeguarding measures to ensure that the US remains an FMD-free country. Effective March 13, USDA temporarily prohibited US importation of animals and animal products from the EU; any relevant products en route to the US since February 21 were to be held. This new import ban augments existing restrictions on importation of ruminants and ruminant products from the EU to prevent introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to the US.

International travelers arriving at US airports are routinely prohibited from carrying agricultural or animal products, and heightened alerts and inspections are in place at airports and other ports of entry. Passengers are required to identify any farm contact to US Customs and APHIS officials, and travelers arriving at 110 US ports of entry will be asked upon arrival if they visited a farm while in Europe. APHIS inspectors are conducting an outreach and education campaign for international travelers, including a public demonstration on April 14 of airport procedures to screen passengers, disinfect soiled footwear, and detect prohibited products in luggage. The public education campaign also includes additional signs in airports, public announcements, information hotline, and website to better inform the public about the importance of FMD and exclusion measures for the US.

New restrictions on agricultural equipment imported from Europe are also in place at US ports of entry. Effective March 13, cleaning and disinfection of used tractors, mowers, tillers, and other farm vehicles from FMD-affected countries is required for entry, regardless of whether the equipment appears clean on physical inspection. Rail manifests are also being carefully reviewed for used farm equipment.

APHIS veterinary and plant officials across the country have intensified outreach to state government and industry leaders to inform them of APHIS prevention and preparedness measures. APHIS officials in each state are reviewing protocols at ports of entry, visiting slaughter plants and livestock concentration facilities to emphasize surveillance and reporting procedures, and scheduling inspections of all swine waste feeders to ensure compliance and reporting of any diseases that may be suspicious for foreign animal disease. In addition, a team of 40 APHIS, state government, and university experts has traveled to Europe to monitor the outbreak and assist in containment efforts.

Sources: USDA press releases (2) on March 13, 2001; USDA-APHIS internal guidance to Area Veterinarians in Charge and State Plant Health Directors; and Agworldwide agriculture news

CEI’s plans for follow up:

CEI will be prepared to provide more information as needed regarding consequences of this outbreak. If you seek more information or wish to comment on this worksheet, contact Carol Tuszynski (970-490-7893) or Reginald Johnson (970-490-7896).

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