Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been recognized in printed records dating from the sixteenth century, and since the eradication of rinderpest ... Show synopsis Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been recognized in printed records dating from the sixteenth century, and since the eradication of rinderpest (cattle plague) in the early part of the twentieth century it has been rec- nized as the most important and feared disease of cattle and other dom- tic livestock. The beginning of the twenty-first century brought the worst outbreak of FMD ever experienced in England, which had been completely free of the disease for 33 years. This tragic epidemic, which spread to Northern Ireland, Scotland, France and the Netherlands with severe e- nomic consequences, emphasized the need for further research into better methods for the detection and control of the disease. FMD is caused by a small RNA virus which is highly contagious and can survive in meat and other animal products for long periods at normal pH levels. The virus typically infects cloven-hoofed animals, including c- tle, goats, pigs and sheep, as well as a wide range of non-domesticated a- mals in regions of the world where FMD virus is endemic, such as the Af- can continent. There are seven recognized serotypes of FMD virus, with numerous subtypes, and as a consequence vaccine production and administration is complex and a major debate surrounds every disease outbreak regarding the relative merits of vaccination as opposed to the slaughter of all infected animals.