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California

State to Look at Spread of Diseases

March 21, 2001|Associated Press

Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday ordered two state agencies to look for weaknesses in the state's efforts to block the spread of two animal diseases that have hurt the agriculture industry in Europe.

Davis told Food and Agriculture Secretary William Lyons Jr. and Emergency Services Director Dallas Jones to make recommendations within 30 days on better ways to prevent the spread of "mad cow" disease and foot-and-mouth disease.

California has sent four veterinarians to Europe to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Davis also directed Lyons to meet with Mexico's agriculture secretary to work out a regional plan for preventing the spread of animal and plant diseases.

Davis cited a 1999 University of California study estimating that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could cause direct and indirect losses to domestic animals and wildlife of more than $13 billion in California alone.

It has been 72 years since the state's last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

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