Cyprus probes suspected foot and mouth outbreak

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NICOSIA, Oct 26 (Reuters) Authorities in Cyprus were investigating a suspected outbreak of foot and mouth disease at a farm in the southeast of the island, the Agriculture Ministry said today.

A 3 km temporary control zone was imposed around the sheep farm and other farms nearby, close to the southern coastal town of Larnaca.

''Veterinary services yesterday found ... animals with a positive indication of foot and mouth disease,'' Agriculture Minister Photis Photiou said in a written statement.

Samples were sent to a European Union lab overseas and conclusive results were expected next week, he said.

Foot and mouth is not a risk to humans but can be devastating for animals. The highly contagious virus, which is airborne, causes sores on the hooves and mouths of animals, reduces meat and milk production and interferes with reproduction.

REUTERS SZ PM0059

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