RIYADH: The emergence of equine infectious anemia in Spain and Macedonia has prompted Saudi Arabia to temporarily ban equine imports from the two countries to prevent the spread of the disease in the Kingdom.
Equine species are from the mammal family equidae, which includes the modern horse, zebras and donkeys.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Tuesday said it issued a temporary ban on imports of live equines from Spain and Macedonia after learning of the outbreak of the highly infectious anemia.
The decision is based on a precautionary bulletin by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and reports of the emergence of equine infectious anemia in both countries, said Dr. Sanad Al-Harbi, director general of the Department of Animal Risk Assessment.
The OIE is an intergovernmental organization that coordinates, supports and promotes animal disease control, and cautions governments when there are outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Such bans are periodically reviewed and lifted when the situation normalizes, ministry sources said.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has announced a temporary ban on the imports of live fish, including ornamental ones from Ireland on a warning issued by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Al-Harbi said the ban was based on the precautionary bulletin issued by the OIE reporting that there are cases of Crayfish plague in that country.
The Kingdom last month issued a temporary ban on poultry imports from Zimbabwe and Luxembourg due to avian flu, and previously imposed similar bans from countries with bird flu outbreaks. Bans are lifted when the countries are disease-free.