Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
is a highly contagious, usually non-fatal
viral disease of domestic and wild cloven-hoofed animals,
but may also affect certain other species.
It is widely distributed throughout the world. Animals
recovered from the disease may remain carriers of
the infectious virus for an extended period of time.
FMD is not dangerous to humans, but has a great potential
for causing severe economic losses in susceptible
: FMD is caused by a non-enveloped Aphtovirus of the
family Picornaviridae, existing in seven distinct
serotypes of FMD virus, namely, O, A, C, SAT 1, SAT
2, SAT 3 and Asia 1, most of them with many more subtypes.
Infection or vaccination with one serotype, or in
some cases even a different sub-type of the same serotype,
does not confer immunity against another.
: the virus is spread easily by animated and non-animated
vectors, notably the incubating or clinically affected
animal or its products, but may also spread airborne
over substantial distances.
FMD, characterised by a vesicular
condition of the feet, buccal mucosa and, in females,
the mammary glands, cannot be differentiated clinically
from other vesicular diseases.
including isolation of the virus, detection of viral
antigen or nucleic acid or of specific humoral antibody,
of any suspected FMD case is therefore a matter of
with the use of conventional vaccines protects from
disease, but does not prevent infection and consequently
a carrier state. The Community adopted therefore in
1990 a policy prohibiting the prophylactic vaccination
: however, in order to further reduce the risk of
incursion of the virus from endemic areas, the Community
at the same time strengthened the controls at external
borders and engaged considerable financial resources
to assist third countries in its neighbourhood to
control and eradicate the disease.
It is a List A disease,
according to the OIE
Classification of Diseases. This means it is a
transmissible disease that has the potential for very
serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national
borders, that is of serious socio-economic or public
health consequence and that is of major importance
in the international trade of animals and animal products.