Fact Sheet (4/9/01)

The Disease – FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals (cattle, swine, sheep, goats, deer) that causes blistering of the lips, mouth, tongue, nose, teats and hooves.  Essentially 100% of susceptible animals succumb to the disease when exposed.  FMD is not particularly lethal.  Mortality rates rarely exceed 2% in adults and 20% in young stock.  Abortion does occur.  It is the prolonged convalescence that causes severe losses in production through reduction in the production of meat, milk, wool, and offspring.  FMD does not affect food safety or humans.

The Impact - In addition to crippling animal industries through lost production and mortality, FMD eliminates the exportation of meat products.  This alone is worth $5 Billion annually in the United States.  FMD also severely inhibits travel and tourism.  Arizona has over $600 Million in livestock inventory with an annual production of livestock products exceeding $1.4 Billion.

History of the Spread of this Strain of Type O FMDV - This particular strain of FMD virus (FMDV) Type O has defeated all efforts to stop its rapid progress around the world.  It was first isolated in 1990 in India.  It quickly spread to Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries as a result of trade in live sheep and goats.  By 1996, it had reached Turkey and from there it spread into Greece and Bulgaria.  By 1999, outbreaks were reported in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.  This new strain is so aggressive, it has virtually replaced all other “endemic” FMDV strains in the Middle East.  Two years ago it struck three well-managed FMD vaccinated dairy farms in Saudi Arabia.  In 1993, the virus reached Nepal.  In 1998, it hit Bhutan and in 1999 Tibet and the Hainan province of China.  It also reached the island of Taiwan.  The virus has since been found in Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Laos.  In March last year, the strain hit Korea and Japan, both free of FMD since 1934 and 1908.  Last year, the virus spread to South Africa reportedly by feeding waste from a ship from the Far East to pigs.

Current Situation – The UK (Great Britain, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Island of Mann) discovered FMD Type O in 27 pigs at an abattoir on February 19, 2001.  The last outbreak of FMD in Great Britain was in 1981.  As of April 9, 2001 (3:30 p.m. EST), the UK reported 1,119 confirmed outbreaks, including one in Northern Ireland, with the highest number of cases being reported from north central Great Britain.  Other countries reporting cases of FMD Type O as of April 9, 2001, include the Republic of Ireland with 1 case (March 22, 2001), France with 2 cases (March 12, 2001), The Netherlands with 15 cases (March 21, 2001), and Columbia with 3 cases (March 23, 2001).  Argentina has reported 73 cases of FMD Type A (March 13, 2001).

Impact in the UK – As of March 31, 2001 (10:00 a.m. EST), 1,204,000 livestock animals have been destroyed or identified for destruction.  This represents a loss of 2.2% of the total population of 55 million livestock animals in the UK.

U.S. Import Restrictions – All live ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer) and swine, and most products derived from ruminants and swine processed on or after February 19, 2001, are restricted from entry if they originate from the UK, Republic of Ireland, and all other states (countries) in the EU.  Similar restrictions are in place for Columbia and Argentina, and all other countries that are not recognized as FMD free by APHIS.  In addition, the USDA has placed a temporary ban on the importation of used farm equipment and made recommendations for pets entering the U.S. from FMD affected countries .

Pathways of Introduction – The virus is spread by inhalation or ingestion.  Initial outbreaks are most commonly caused by ingestion (e.g. infected meat), but rapid spread within a herd is likely via inhalation (airborne virus).  Wind and Humidity appear to increase windborne spread.  Virus spread has been estimated, under the right conditions, to be as far as 62 miles.  Up to 50% of infected animals may remain as carriers of the disease for at least 6 months.  Virus has been recovered from nasal secretion of people for up to 28 hours after working with infected cattle and can survive in the environment for 10 – 12 weeks on clothing and feed, and 30 days on hair.  The following have been identified as potential routes of introduction to the U.S. livestock population:

· Legitimate trade in live animals or their products (not likely due to import restrictions in place)

· Trade in used agricultural equipment (equipment and their containers)
· Civilian passenger traffic (passengers carrying prohibited materials or that have contaminated shoes or clothing)
· Military passenger traffic
· Garbage from civilian and military planes
· Importation of pets (contaminated haircoat)
· Containers with permitted materials that are contaminated

Control Strategies – Primary strategy is slaughter of infected and exposed animals.  The EU is using a 1 km radius from the infected farm as the zone of slaughter with a 3 km intensive surveillance zone.  Vaccines are available however, their use is discouraged.  Although vaccination may reduce the clinical symptoms of FMD, it does not eliminate infection nor prevent the carrier state.  Vaccinated animals must be eventually slaughtered if the virus is to be completely eradicated.

Disinfection – FMDV is very stable.  It can survive up to 1 year in the environment.  FMDV is inactivated by low or high pH, sunlight, and high temperature (boiling, autoclaving).  Most disinfectants do not destroy the virus.  APHIS produces a list of effective disinfectants.  Chlorox, while generally effective against most viruses, is only effective for FMDV inactivation at high concentrations (2:3 dilution chlorox:water).


Disposal Methods – Methods of carcass disposal include burial, burning, and rendering.  Burial on-site appears to be the method of choice.  Milk on site, and contaminated milk at a processing plant must be treated (disinfected) to inactivate the virus and disposed of either through a local sewer system, or by transport off-site to a pit for evaporation and percolation into the soil.

Response by ADA – ADA is working with APHIS, PPQ to improve safeguarding activities at international POE’s, producing and distributing information internally as well as externally (producers) about FMD and biosecurity measures, providing information to the public through news releases and on the agency website, providing FMD updates to stakeholders by e-mail, establishing specific protocols for agency personnel activation and plan(s) of action whether an outbreak occurs within Arizona or another state, working with ADEM and DEQ to prepare for a FMD emergency, and providing training seminars to agency personnel and practicing veterinarians.


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