Foot and mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease, widely known as FMD, is a severe, highly contagious viral disease. The FMD virus causes disease in cattle, swine, sheep, goats, cervids, and other animals with divided hooves. FMD is a worldwide concern, as it can spread quickly and cause significant economic and animal losses and would severely impact US exportsi. While many countries across the globe are dealing with FMD in their livestock populations, the last case of FMD in the US was in 1929. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services (APHIS-VS), State Animal Health Officials (SAHO), and private veterinarians cooperate with the livestock industries to safeguard the health of US livestock.

AVMA recommendations for FMD preparedness

  • FMD vaccine use in a US outbreak
    • Support FMD vaccine use in a US outbreak, including vaccinate-to-live scenarios
    • Support the use of accredited veterinarians and those they supervise to administer the vaccine
      • Support the establishment of an FMD vaccine distribution plan in the event of an outbreak, including animal ID
      • Consider the use of the existing distribution systems for vaccine delivery to production systems
  • FMD vaccine research and antigen bank recommendations
    • Support continued research of next-generation FMD vaccines with differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals capability and production within the US
    • Support modernization including funding by the US government for a fully functional FMD antigen bank for vaccinate-to-live scenarios with appropriate serotypes and quantities available for immediate use in an FMD outbreak
  • Laboratory and field diagnostics recommendations
    • Support function and funding of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN)
    • Support continued development of the FMD bulk milk tank quick test
    • Support continued development of pen side test kits
    • Support the continuous review and validation of PCR tests for oral fluids in swine and other alternative sample types in both swine and bovine species
    • Promote and support the continued development and implementation of standardized data sharing systems that can facilitate rapid and accurate sharing of laboratory information between NAHLN, SAHO, USDA, and the industry while maintaining client confidentiality
  • The recommendations for FMD preparedness include priorities on the following:
    • Identify the protocols for response policies
      • Identify triggers for moving to acceptance that stamping out is not working or the disease has become endemic and we need an eradication program
      • Identify triggers for vaccine use in a US outbreak
    • Vaccine research and antigen bank capabilities
    • USDA laboratory and field diagnostics
    • Develop AND implement secure commodity supply plans developed by livestock sectors; facilitate agreement for their use across state, federal, and industry partners
    • Continue to improve upon the interoperability between computer databases
    • On-farm biosecurity and FMD educational materials
  • The AVMA recognizes the importance of clear and timely communication during an FMD outbreak with private veterinarians so that they can communicate appropriately with their clientele. To this end, the AVMA should develop prepared messaging that can be readily shared that includes, but is not limited to, the following points:
    • FMD is NOT a public health concern
    • Meat and milk are safe to consume
    • Veterinarians work with livestock producers to minimize the spread of FMD and at the same time minimize the suffering of the affected animals

AVMA recommendations for FMD in endemic regions

  • Importations of meat products from endemic regions
    • Support USDA risk reviews and comment periods prior to allowing the importation of meat products from endemic regions
    • Support continued USDA reviews to ensure compliance with regulations allowing the importation of meat products into the United States
    • Support continued enforcement of USDA-APHIS mitigation measures to protect against entry of FMD virus from imported animal products from FMD endemic countries or those countries practicing vaccination against FMD
  • Importations of live animals and/or germ plasm from endemic regions should be only allowed following USDA-APHIS-VS review and SAHO and industry agreement

i Roth, James A. and Spickler, Anna R., "FMD Vaccine Surge Capacity for Emergency Use in the United States" (2014). Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine Reports. 8.