The National Center for Animal Health (NCAH) has warned about the severe economic consequences that might arise from the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). 

The NCAH has predicted a surge in meat prices, particularly during the approaching Ramadan season, when the demand for meat is typically high. Furthermore, the prices of sacrificial animals during Eid al-Adha are likely to increase if the crisis remains uncontained.

In its latest epidemiological update on FMD in Libya, the NCAH reported that 47 FMD outbreaks have been identified and monitored. The outbreak has resulted in the death of 551 sheep and the infection of 2246 others in several cities across the country. The NCAH has also noted that the number of sheep in contact with infected animals has increased to 6616 as of March 3rd, 2024.

"The FMD is endemic in Libya, and its outbreaks are sporadic. It is a highly infectious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, goats, sheep, and camels," the centre explains.

The spread of FMD has been attributed to smuggling and the illegal importation of animals, particularly from countries with a high incidence of the disease. Inadequate biosecurity measures in farms and a scarcity of control capabilities, such as vaccines, have also contributed to the spread of the disease.

Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has directed each municipality to establish a follow-up committee to execute the NCAH's plan, oversee livestock markets, and establish necessary regulations. The committee will include the Ministries of Interior, Agriculture, Local Governance, Agricultural Police, and Municipal Guard.