JAKARTA - Indonesia will include the popular tourist destination of Bali as one of its priority zones for a vaccination programme against foot and mouth disease (FMD) to prevent its further spread, a government official said on Thursday.
Indonesia is aiming to get a FMD outbreak under control by the end of the year while cattle-producing countries such as Australia and New Zealand have raised their guard against the disease after infections were found in Bali.
"Bali is being prioritised for vaccination because of the high human traffic, both domestic and international, that could be a factor spreading the disease," Wiku Adisasmito, spokesperson for the government task force handling the outbreak, told a briefing.
Australians are among the top foreign visitors to Bali.
FMD is highly transmissible and causes lesions and lameness in cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals, but does not affect humans.
Government data showed that as of Thursday there were over 479,000 of active FMD cases across the nation, with Bali reporting more than 500 sick animals as of Thursday.
Indonesia had vaccinated 1.33 million of animals as of Thursday and plan to procure more than 28 million of vaccine doses by the end of the year, according to the government data.
Around 116,000 animals have been vaccinated in Bali so far.
Other priority zones for vaccination against the FMD include cattle farming centres such as East Java and West Nusa Tenggara, Wiku said, while asking local authorities to step up animal traffic control between provinces to avert further spread of the virus in the country.
(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Ananda Teresia; editing by David Evans)