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Foot and Mouth Disease

The foot and mouth disease is widespread. It is an infection of cloven hooved animals and is highly infectious. The pathogenic agent is a picornavirus known as FMD-virus. It is a RNA-virus with 7 serotypes ( A, O, C, SAT 1, 2, 3, Asia 1 and about 50 subtypes, 20 - 25 nm and is very resistant.
The food and mouth disease virus is sensitive to environmental influences such as pH less than 5, sunlight and desiccation. It can survive at freezing temperatures.

Infection with foot and mouth disease

The infection with foot and mouth disease occurs by direct contact with animals having the disease, or by contact with infected utensils, infected animal feed. The routes of spread of the virus are the contact with infected animals, by people exposed to the virus who develop no symptoms or just skin lesions, but who harbour and spread the FMD virus. Other routes are shoes, clothing, vehicles, meat, milk and garbage and air contaminated with virus

Symptoms of the disease

Fever,refusal of fodder, flow of saliva and characteristic bubbles (aphthous ulcers) in the region of the mouth, teats and claws.
Pigs have bubbles at the claws with paralysis symptoms.
The disease in humans is rare and of mild symptoms.

Specific medication

There is no specific medication available. Due to vaccination the number of new cases can be reduced considerably.

Spread of foot and mouth disease in South America

The International Epizootias Office accepted that most of the Center West of Brazil was foot and mouth disease free, with vaccination. The State of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina had been free of the disease for almost ten years. Vaccination had been therefore stopped. In August 2000 the disease was found to explode again in Rio Grande do Sul. About 10.000 head of cattle, cheep and pigs had to be killed. It is seems that illegally imported breed stock from Argentina or Paraguay was the cause.
Brazilian failing to control the spread of the disease is due to insufficient supervision by veterinary officials and vaccination was not made properly.
Argentina and Uruguay are concerned with the possibility the disease spreading from Rio Grande do Sul to their countries.

New Outbreak of FMD in Brazilian cattle

Outbreak of FMD in Brazilians state of Mato Grosso do Sul in November 2005 is due to Brazilian cattle rangers who smuggle unvaccinated animals in from neighgboring Paraguay to increase their herds at lower prices. Cattle is about 30 per cent cheaper in Paraguay than in Brazil.(Animal Health Department of Mato Grosso do Sul)

Geography of foot and mouth disease

The Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraguay and Bolivia are strongly affected by the disease.
Considered as free from foot and mouth disease are North America, Central America (North of Panama, Australia, New Zeeland and Scandinavia. The new outbreak of FMD menaces Great Britain Netherlands and all efforts are made to avoid it from spreading all over the European Country
The last case of the disease was detected in 1929 in California. In Canada the last case was found in 1952. United States and Japan refuses to import fresh beef from Brazil as long as the disease is not under control.

In 2004 foot and mouth disease entered Japan with straw imported from China. FMD had not been seen in Japan since 1980.

An outbreak of MD in South Africa was caused by garbage which had been picked up by a farmer from a tramp steamer anchored offshore. He fed the garbage to his pigs a deleting epidemic started. The outbreak in Great Britain is thought to have started is a similar way.

Hamburger use lower quality beef imported from developing countries. Australia is notable to send more meat in this quality to USA. The price of beef in Brazil is among the lowest of the world. Everything is done to reduce costs of irrigation, improving pastures, fertiliser and irrigation. Advisors say that herds should be moved from the south to the center and north of Brazil. This includes the states of Mato Grosso, a Rondonia and Pará.

Foot and Mouth Disease 2001 in England

The disaster which has hit European meat market beginning with BSE which started in England has been boosted by the FMD.
Spreading all over the island it was menacing to get to the European countries because of commerce between England and the continent.
Dust carried by wind can spread the picornavirus as far as 100 kilometers infecting pastures and animals.

One of the reasons of the spread of the disease is concentration of business. In England 1000 local abattoirs were concentrated in past years down to 340 mighty factories making transportation of cattle and living animals necessary over hundred of miles.
Measures to control the epidemic such as disinfectants for the shoes and tires of Queen Mom are nice for news but they do not hit the primary cause of the disease.
Tourism in England has been reduced as the possibility of carrying the virus particles in cloth and shoes entering thus the continent is eminent. The traffic of car and transportation of all kind of goods between the island and the continent cannot be stopped. Air travel is another way to spread the disease.
Organic food such as being done in the English Highgrove on the Farm of Prince Charles seems to be the way to fight back modern epidemic animal diseases. It includes however that a local economy should be sponsored. Global business spreads diseases, destroys environment and global climate.

Foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2007, Surrey, England

Cattle on a farm outside Wanborough, 30 miles southwest of London, tested positive for Foot-and mouth disease. The virus affects cloven-hoofed animals including cows, sheep, pigs and goats. It does not affect humans. All livestock at the farm and nearby were slaughtered on the 4.08.2007.

Biosafety experts scoured a rural laboratory of Merial Animal Health searching for the possible source of the outbreak of the disease.
Few days before several sheep had been exported from Britain to a German Farm which is now being isolated by German veterinaries. [2]

Merial Animal Health is a world-leading animal health company producing pharmaceutical products and vaccines for livestock, pets and wildlife. [3]

The virus of the outbreak is unusual in wildlife but is identical with the virus used by Merial Animal Health. The vaccine manufacturing site of Merial may be the source of the epidemic. It is situated only four miles from the affected farm.

The last foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in England occurred in 2001.

UK's Foot and Mouth Status

Foot and Mouth (FMD) has been confirmed in domestic cattle. This means that the United Kingdom (UK) has lost its official "country freedom" status for this disease. This criteria is set by OIE, the International Health Organisation, which is recognised by the world community.

Intra-Community Trade

You cannot export susceptible live animals to EU member states because there is a prohibition on the movement of susceptible live animals within GB.

Meat and other animal products (including genetic material, dairy products, petfoods, hides/skins etc) from susceptible species should not be exported to EU member states. The exact details will be included in new a EU Decision expected on Monday.

Third Country Exports

You cannot export any susceptible animals or their products (including genetic material, dairy products, petfoods, hides/skins etc) to third countries because we have suspended all relevant export health certificates.

Animal Health are recalling export health certificates issued for consignments which have not yet been exported.

Infection way

Pigs are infected by ingesting infected food and waste.
Cattle is infected by inhalation of respiratory aerosols emitted from pigs which excrete large amounts of virus by this way. Wind is able to carry this aerosol over long distances.
People can be infected through skin, wounds or oral mucosa working in a stable or getting infected through milk.


Incubation: 2 to 21 days as average 3 to 8 Days.
Infection morbidity period: 100%
Mortality:5% of adults and 75% sucking pigs and sheep.
Cattle which recovers from the disease may be carrier for 18 to 24 month.
Sheep can be carrier for 1 to 2 month.
Pigs are not carrier.

Clinical signs of foot and mouth disease

Animals: Salivation,depression, anorexia and lameness caused by the presence of painful vesicles ( blisters ) in the skin of the lips, tongue gums, nostrils, coronary bands, interdigital spaces and teats, Fever and decreased milk production.
In pigs the signs are the same but milder, Lameness is predominant.
People:Exanthemas on fingertips and interdigital spaces, fever and miocarditis.

Foot and mouth disease in England

Foot and mouth disease is spreading in England in February 2001. As infection is very easy and many living animals were exported to the continent it is likely that the disease has crossed the channel and entered the continent. Every effort should be undertaken to reduce transportation of animals, reduce tourism (the virus can be carried as dust on clothes and foods used during journeys and air traffic).
Farmers should look for correct disinfection facilities. Visitors should not allowed to get to the Farm. This includes the mailman as a vector from farm to farm. Mail should be deposited centralised somewere away from the farm. When casual visitors must get into the stables it should be done after careful disinfection of shoes and the use of plastic overalls.

Food-and-mouth Disease serotypes A and O spread to Japan and South Korea citeKnowles JapSkor12

Knowles et al. 2012 report that foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks recently affected Japan and South Kore in eastern Asia that were free of FM. The serotype A and O viruses caused these outbreaks.The origin of the viruses was the mainland Southeast Asia.

The FMD virus (FMDV), is a small, nonenveloped, picornavirus (genus Aphthovirus) that has 7 serotypes. FMDV serotypes O, A, and Asia 1 are endemic to countries in mainland Southeast Asia, namely Cambodia, Laos, peninsula Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The FMDV O/SEA topotype (Mya-98) was also detected in China in 2003 and in Mongolia in 2004.

This virus is easily transmitted by movement of infected livestock or animal products, contaminated persons, objects, and aerosols. It affects domesticated animals and wildlife in Africa, Asia and parts of South America. Outbreaks of FMD in these disease-endemic regions continuously threaten livestock industries in countries that are free of FMD.

The authors point to the porous nature of borders between mainland Southeast Asia and neighboring. This provides a continuous threat as a transboundary disease in the region. Currently available vaccine strains A/May/97and O/Manisa should protect against representative isolates of serotypes A and O. Additionaly close monitoring of antigenicity and spread from Southeast Asia is essential to reduce the risk of other distant outbreaks can be reduced.

New strain of Asia 1 FMD of Central Asia and China

[5] All efforts are being done to avoid the new emerging strain of Asia 1 FMD foot and mouth disease from Central Asia and China to enter the EU.

Risk of international spread.

The reservoir of FMDV type Asia-1 is generally considered to be in south Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, countries with very high bovine and buffalo population densities. This virus type has often been associated with epidemic spread out of these reservoir animal populations into west Asia as far as Turkey, and even in 2000 to Greece, but eastwards spread to involve dispersed, possibly widespread outbreaks on Chinese mainland appears to be a new and worrying development.

The development in China appears to be the consequence of a failure of the disease reporting system in a number of countries, mostly in central Asia, resulting in country to country spread, and it would appear, spread from western China to eastern China in 2005.

The currently available information is limited. Each country needs to conduct their own risk analysis. However the distribution of the reports suggest an increased incidence of infection and this may contribute to increased risk through the pathway of animal products, live animals or other routes (such as contamination of fodder).

Risk to Europe

The last major FMD outbreak in Europe started in the UK in 2001 and spread to several other member states before it was eradicated.

Assessing the risk to Europe of the reintroduction of FMD in the European Union, the EFSA came to the conclusion that most of the factors and circumstances which affected the introduction and spread of the disease in Europe from 1991 to 2001 have not changed. There are no indications that the risks could be expected to decrease. Therefore, many of the historical observations on in remain relevant for the future.

Imports of live animals originating from the Middle East represent a threat to the EU primarily, but not exclusively, to south-eastern Europe. Illegal importation of infected meat and meat products and possibly legal importation of other animal products such as casings (derived from intestines) from South-East Asia & China and South Asia are a threat that is more evenly spread throughout the EU.

It is by reducing the global weight of infection that the EU and other FMD-free areas of the world can achieve a sustainable reduction in their own risk.
Past FMD virus introductions into Europe were via imports from South America (meat) and south eastern Europe (live animals), a strategy for risk reduction has been implemented for imports from these areas. These have included a strategy for reduction in the prevalence of FMD in these areas.

However, these areas remain at risk to (re-)infection. A sustainable FMD risk reduction strategy for the protection of Europe will need to address not only the targeted and progressive control of FMD in the high risk primary endemic epidemiological clusters of South-East Asia & China (Indo-China) and South Asia, which currently represent the biggest threat to Europe, but also in eastern Africa and the Sahel.

Global progressive control of FMD is a protracted process which is anticipated to require 20-30 years. Therefore, FMD control in endemic areas supplements rather than replaces the current EU strategy. In the context of increasing globalisation with increasing imports of animals and animal products into the EU, not to mention the expansion of the borders of the EU itself, the risk from both legal and illegal activities is likely to increase.

The only feasible way of reducing the prevalence of, or eradicating, FMD in endemic areas is through a three-pronged approach comprising the following:

Increasing international travel from endemic areas is increasing the number of illegal imports of meat and meat products in passenger's luggage.

Specific recommendations for reduction of the risk of virus import

Enforcement in the exporting third countries of pre-export treatments for animal products other than meat merits verification. It may be worthwhile to examine whether the EU could share some of the burden of verifying compliance with other importing countries.

Veterinary checks at the borders should be enforced with: Controls on travelers at the points of entry are still weak in most of countries in Europe. Significant quantities of meat and meat products are introduced illegally into Europe in the luggage of travelers. Commercial heat treatment: The presentation of an international veterinary certificate attesting that the manufacturing method for these products included heating to a minimum internal temperature of 70° for at least 30 minutes for importing foods from countries where MFD is present. [7]

Other routes of introduction of FMD virus are:

Human infections

Human infections include the handling of animals and inhalation of airborne viral particles, but probably the most frequent routes of infection has been ingestion of unpasteurized milk, cheese and other dairy products. The disease in humans are usually of a mild nature.

After an incubation period of 2-4 days, sufferers start experiencing symptoms such as fever, headaches, shivering and thirst. Later, itchiness, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and, rarely, gastro-enteritis precede the appearance of crops of painful blisters on the sufferer's hands and between their toes. Blisters can also form on the lips and inside the mouth, causing extensive ulceration and marked discomfort. Skin peeling of the palms and soles of feet is also known to occur. Recovery is usually complete within 2 weeks.

An EFSA subset of relevant legislative references

Commission Decision 2004/438/EC of 29 April 2004 laying down animal and public health and veterinary certifications conditions for introduction in the Community of heat-treated milk, milkbased products and raw milk intended for human consumption (OJ No. L 154, 30.04.2004, p. 72)

Commission Decision 94/360/EC of 20 May 1994 on the reduced frequency of physical checks of consignments of certain products to be implemented from third countries, under Council Directive 90/675/EEC (OJ L 158, 25.6.1994, p. 41).

Commission Decision 2003/779/EC of 31 October 2003 laying down animal health requirements and the veterinary certification for the import of animal casings from third countries (OJ L 285, 1.11.2003, Commission Decision 2005/432/EC of 3 June 2005 laying down the animal and public health conditions and model certificates for imports of meat products for human consumption from third countries and repealing Decisions 97/41/EC, 97/221/EC and 97/222/EC (OJ L 151, 14.6.2005, p. 3).

Commission Regulation 745/2004 of 16 April 2004 laying down measures with regard to imports of products of animal origin for personal consumption (OJ L 122, 26.4.2004, p. 1)

Council Decision 79/542/EEC of 21 December 1976 drawing up a list of third countries or parts of third countries, and laying down animal and public health and veterinary certification conditions, for importation into the Community of certain live animals and their fresh meat (OJ L 146, 14.6.1979 p. 15)

Council Directive 92/118/EEC of 17 December 1992 laying down animal health and public health requirements governing trade in and imports into the Community of products not subject to the said requirements laid down in specific Community rules referred to in Annex A (I) to Directive 89/662/EEC and, as regards pathogens, to Directive 90/425/EEC (OJ L 62, 15.3.93. p.49).

Council Directive 2002/99/EC of 16 December 2002 laying down the animal health rules governing the production, processing, distribution and introduction of products of animal origin for human consumption (OJ L 18, 23.1.2003, p. 11)

ANNEX I of (EC) No 853/2004 Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for on the hygiene of foodstuffs (OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 55).


CNBC: Health Experts Search UK Lab for Foot-And-Mouth Disease.

Spiegel Online 05.08.2007: Britische Viehzüchter empört über verdächtiges Labor.

Merial, a world-leading animal health company.

Defra, UK: Animal Health and welfare.

EFSA: Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare on request from the European Commission related to: Assessing the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease introduction into the EU from developing countries, Assessing the reduction of this risk through interventions in developing countries / regions aiming at controlling / eradicating the disease, and Tools for the control of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak: update on diagnostics and vaccines (Question Nr EFSA-Q-2004-113) Adopted 5 February 2006.

EMPRES WATCH: Special disease analysis report Issue: Foot-and-mouth disease type Asia-1 in China Information compiled by EMPRES working with the EUFMD Commission Secretariat, FAO.

OIE: Terrestrial Animal Health Code - 2005; Foot and Mouth Disease Article

OIE: Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals; Human Safety in the Veterinary Microbiology Laboratory. Chapter I.1.6 2004.

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