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Sri Lanka Must Be Cautious about Foot-and-mouth Disease

By Ven. Dr. Basnagoda Rahula Thera, Secretary, Theravada Buddhist Vihara, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

In the background of current interest in the English Cricket tour, a danger may be lurking: Sri Lanka might get foot-and-mouth disease. Thousands of Englishmen have already arrived in Sri Lanka, and we believe that the number of arrivals is continuing. There is the possibility that these tourists might bring the highly contagious disease to Sri Lanka.

Humans are the carriers of this disease, which kills animals such as cattle and sheep. The disease has now spread from England to the neighboring islands within 10 days, and new infections have been discovered in Turkey as well. Foot-and-mouth disease may spread from meat, agricultural products, and from the people who have visited animal farms. Individual shoes and clothes are considered to be the most likely carriers of the disease.

America has taken immediate steps to prevent the disease from entering its boundaries. In Washington airport, for instance, strong measures have been taken for the tourists coming from England. Sri Lanka must take similar precautions. Authorities at Katunayaka airport need to stop temporarily raw meat and agricultural products coming from England. Tourists might bring agricultural products in their personal luggage, and it is the responsibility of the authorities to check all these bags at the terminals. A timely action can save the costs and avoid a disaster.

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