Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - More than 3.8 million cows and buffaloes, equal to 80 percent of their numbers in high-risk areas across the country, are expected to be immunized against foot-and-mouth disease by 2020.

The high-risk areas include 26 provinces stretching from the north to the Mekong Delta.

It was one of the main goals set up under the National Programme on foot-and-mouth disease prevention between 2016 and 2020 signed by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat on February 17.

Phat said the cows and buffaloes will receive injections twice a year under the plan.

The State budget and local budget will be used to support breeders and farmers for the injections, he said.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the State budget financing for the programme during 2016-20 will be about 269 billion VND (nearly 12 million USD).

The ministry, in an attempt to eradicate the disease from the country in the next five years, also plans to target Nam Dinh and Thai Binh provinces to make it an area without foot-and-mouth disease until 2020.

To reach the goals, the ministry will run a system to identify cattle and launch a database related to cattle transport activities to ensure the clear origin of cattle. More training courses of quarantine are expected to be launched to improve capability of veterinarian, the ministry said.

Sharing information of transporting cattle via borders with shared-border countries of China, Laos and Cambodia will also be implemented, the ministry said.

The ministry assigned its Department of Animal Health to take responsibility of the programme's implementation.

Meanwhile, the Veterinary Department in the central province of Quang Tri has reported that cases of foot and mouth disease were on the rise and could become widespread.

Foot and mouth disease has appeared in Gio Linh, Trieu Phong and Cam Lo Districts, with a total of 49 cases reported in 16 local households.

The cattle were infected with the disease during the Lunar New Year celebrations, when timely prevention and treatment measures were not available, the department said.

The cold and wet weather also contributed to the spread of the disease, it added.

Besides outbreak announcement, the veterinary and agriculture and rural development departments have prohibited the sale and transport of cattle in the affected areas.

The departments' officials also guided cattle breeders on treatment for their infected cattle and supplied chemicals for them to spray in the breeding areas.-VNA