An outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) was confirmed in the province of Basra, Iraq over the weekend. Only 1,200 animals were initially reported as infected in this very remote area but as many as 120,000 animals could be affected, officials say.

In a Feb. 6 report, Reuters says Sabah Jassim, general director of the Basra-based Veterinary Company, which is affiliated to the Agriculture Ministry, says FMD is endemic in Iraq. “It is a disease like other diseases that hit animals. The Iraqi Agriculture Ministry is adopting a scientific plan to deal with it," Jassim said. He blamed the cattle owners for not sending their cattle for routine tests and vaccinations.