Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease is a severe infectious disease, which spreads quickly through livestock if it is not accurately controlled. The disease is not only infectious but it can also be extremely lethal. Not only does the disease result in terror across farmlands, but it also creates a huge economic issue for farmers who have livestock that are infected with the disease. The economic issue is in fact caused as a result of millions upon millions of infected livestock being slaughtered. This precaution needs to happen, in order to avoid the disease from continuing to spread to other livestock on either the same farm or neighboring farms.

Foot and Mouth Disease spreads rapidly from one animal to another. This is especially the case in cool, damp climates or when animals are penned in close vicinity to one another. One may simply think that a quick and easy vaccination could solve the problem of Foot and Mouth Disease. However, like many other viruses, Foot and Mouth Disease continue to relentlessly transform. As a result, this makes it exceptionally difficult and making vaccinating the animals a huge problem.

Foot and Mouth Disease is said to have first become viral in 1897 and the disease may be detected throughout the world. However, some countries may be less likely to encounter the disease. Yet the rapid widespread still continues to threaten the entire world or agriculture and more specifically, livestock agriculture. The disease may be detected through various symptoms such as high fever, blisters that occur inside the mouth, foamy saliva and drooling, as well as blisters that occur on the feet, which can ultimately result in lameness and a destitute animal. The disease can also be transmitted in various ways such as close contact, aerosols, as well as fodder. After transmission, or during the disease outbreak, one needs to take precautionary measures such as quarantine and slaughtering of the livestock that have been infected with the disease. Another serious preventative measure that is enforced includes a ban that is put on all exports of all animal products. Foot and Mouth Disease can inevitably cause a great deal of damage to local economies, which rely greatly on exports. Farmers not only lose cattle, which is extremely valuable as each cattle is worth a substantial amount of money, but they also lose revenue, which is essential for the maintenance of their farms.

The disease has been reported in numerous countries, which include the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. However, different strains of the virus tend to be more predominant in certain parts of the world. Asia has been in the spotlight recently with Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks occurring in both Japan and Korea. In countries such as the United Kingdom, where the disease only becomes prevalent as a result of importing, they tend to stamp out the disease by slaughtering all animals disease-ridden with Foot and Mouth Disease, as well as those that have been exposed and therefore bare the risk of infection.

Many people may ask the question as to whether or not Foot and Mouth Disease affects humans. In a few cases, human infections have been reported; however, these cases are incredibly rare and thankfully do not result in serious disease.

It is sad to say, that no infected animal is ever able to recover from such a devastating disease. Vaccines are able to protect animals against the disease; however it does not necessarily entirely prevent animals from becoming infected. Vaccination is one tool that is instigated to control the spread of the disease in an endemic situation. Therefore, unless the disease is completely exterminated in all parts of the world, we will continue to face these ongoing problems.