|Hoof and Mouth|
Foot-and-Mouth Disease has received a lot of press.
What does it look like and what should I do?
There has been a "deluged" of media regarding Foot-and-Mouth Disease. To help answer questions, the following has been collected for your reference. Links to British and Irish news sites are also included, as well as other information sites for FMD.
Foot-and-Mouth Disease Facts:
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is caused by a fast-spreading virus, and all cloven-footed animals are susceptible to the disease. Nearly 100% of the animals in an exposed herd will become ill, and young animals may die from the disease.
In Texas, these animals would include:
What does FMD infection look like?
Blisters (vesicles) may form in the animal's mouth or muzzle, causing slobbering and drooling. Later, the blisters will break, forming raw patches or ulcers.
Blisters and sores also can develop on the animal's teats, causing mastitis in dairy cattle. Blisters on the feet result in lameness. Affected animals will be reluctant or unable to drink, eat or walk, and they will lose weight rapidly.
Swine and cattle usually will show signs of disease within two to seven day after being exposed to the virus. Sheep and goats may have only minimal clinical signs of disease after an incubation period of up to14 days.
FMD Outbreaks Worldwide
Foot-and-mouth disease has been diagnosed in 34 countries during the past 18 months. The latest outbreaks have occurred in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Argentina and France. The only continents currently free of the disease are North America, Australia and Antarctica.
Most of the affected countries are still battling FMD. Outbreaks disrupt animal industry, including the export of animals and animal products. Once infection is introduced, it is very difficult to prevent the spread to susceptible species, which include all cloven-hooved animals.
How FMD is Spread
Foot-and-mouth disease can be transmitted in a variety of ways, the most common being direct contact with an infected animal.
Once infected, animals become "virus factories," capable of spreading high numbers of viral particles to other animals and into the environment. Infected swine, in particular, can release millions of viral particles when they exhale. The virus can become airborne and can be breathed in by nearby susceptible animals.
Persons who have been around infected animals also are capable of carrying the virus in their nasal passages for as long as 28 hours. While the disease is not considered to be a threat to humans, it's possible for a person to spread the virus to susceptible animals.
The disease also can be spread when susceptible animals come into contact with feed, feeding utensils, vehicles, clothing, or holding facilities that have been contaminated with the virus.
The FMD virus also can be carried in the raw meat, animal products or milk from FMD-exposed or infected animals. The FMD outbreaks in South Africa was started after wastefood containing raw meat scraps was collected from international ships and fed to swine.
Economic Impact of FMD
A single case of FMD would every segment of the U.S.' multi-billion dollar animal and animal product export market.
Consumers can lose confidence in the safety of meat food products.
Prohibitions would be placed on the sale and international shipment of animals and animal products.
Eradication costs are very high. All animals exposed to the virus must be destroyed to prevent the spread of disease.
Vaccines provide only temporary protection and revaccination is needed at six-month intervals. Vaccine use is limited to outbreaks only, and vaccinated animals must be slaughtered before international trade can be resumed.
For at least three months after the eradication of an outbreak --or at least three months after the slaughter of the last vaccinated animal--an affected country is banned from shipping meat or meat products to international trading partners.
Keep FMD Out! Do YOUR Part!
The U.S. has regulations in place to prevent the introduction of FMD-infected animals and animal products. But...so did many of the currently affected countries!
If you suspect a disease problem, report it immediately to your local veterinarian or regulatory animal health official. In the UK, the disease may have been present for three weeks prior to detection!
FMD spreads fast! Early detection and reporting are critical. Don't move animals that may be affected! Stop all visitors from entering your premise, if you suspect a problem!
Traveling abroad? Take precautions:
These products can be used effectively to disinfect for FMD:
Don't Stall! Call!
Report suspicious cases immediately! Call the USDA's Veterinary Services at 512-916-5552 during normal working hours.
Foot and Mouth Disease Links: