Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects cloven-hooved livestock and wildlife. Although adult animals generally recover, the morbidity rate is very high in naïve populations, and significant pain and distress occur in some species. Sequelae may include decreased milk yield, permanent hoof damage and chronic mastitis. High mortality rates can sometimes occur in young animals or in some wildlife populations. Foot and mouth disease was once found worldwide; however, it has been eradicated from some regions including all of North America and western Europe. Where it is endemic, this disease is a major constraint to the international livestock trade. Unless strict precautions are followed, FMD can be readily re-introduced into disease-free regions via animals or animal products. Once introduced, the virus can spread rapidly, particularly if livestock densities are high or detection is delayed. Outbreaks can severely disrupt livestock production, result in embargoes by trade partners, and require significant resources to control. Direct and indirect economic losses equivalent to several billion US dollars are not uncommon. Since the 1990s, a number of outbreaks have occurred in FMD-free countries. Some, such as the 2001 outbreak in the U.K., were devastating.
Iowa State University
Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health, "Foot and Mouth Disease" (2015). Center for Food Security and Public Health Technical Factsheets. 63.