BANGKOK, May 23 (Reuters) - Thailand has ordered strict controls on the movement of cattle and buffaloes after an outbreak of an a virus that causes lumps to form on the animals' skin and can reduce milk production, a government official said on Sunday.
The rarely-fatal disease, which does not affect people and is thought to be spread by flies or mosquitoes, is new in Thailand and has already infected more than 6,700 cows and buffaloes in 35 provinces across the country, according to government deputy spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul.
"The prime minister is concerned about the smuggling of cattle and buffaloes from neighbouring countries, which is an important factor in the spread of the disease, as well as unsanctioned domestic movement," Traisulee said.
She said animals should only be moved when it is necessary under the guidelines of the department of livestock development.
According to official livestock registration data, there are 6.2 million beef cattle, 707,000 dairy cattle and 1.2 millions buffaloes around Thailand. (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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