This page provides general information about this condition. Text can be revealed by clicking on the green headers. Links to press releases, results from DWHC investigations as well as other useful documents and relevant literature available on the DWHC website can be found at the bottom of the page.
Foot and mouth is a highly infectious viral disease caused by an Apthovirus member of the Picornaviridae family. There are seven variants of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus: A, O, C, SAT1, SAT2, SAT3 and Asia1. The disease has been eradicated from West Europe but the risk of infection being imported from neighbouring lands is ever-present and carries with it serious animal welfare and economic implications.
It is the even-toed ungulates, both wild and domestic, that are particularly susceptible to infection with FMD virus. In the Netherlands the susceptible populations therefore include cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, camelids, deer and pigs; as well as wild populations of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer, moeflons, muntjaks and wild boar.
Clinical signs of disease vary between the affected species and range from almost subclinical disease to death – typically seen in young animals as a result of infection of the heart. When present, visible signs of disease include blisters and ulcers in the mouth and on the hooves, particularly at the coronary band.
Disease in people is incredibly rare but may result in blister formation.
People may become infected via direct contact with infected animals, for example through hand-milking.
To minimize the spread of disease and particularly to reduce the chance of importation of disease to currently disease-free areas, meat and meat products, dairy products and untreated hunting trophies should not be brought in from countries where FMD is present. After contact with susceptible species in lands where FMD is present, ensure that at least three days have passed before coming into contact with even-toed ungulates in disease-free lands.
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