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Unapparent foot and mouth disease infection (sub-clinical infections and carriers): implications for control

Author(s) : P. Sutmoller & R. Casas Olascoaga

Summary :

Unlike animals which are carriers of foot and mouth disease (FMD), sub-clinically infected animals may be highly contagious. The implications of sub-clinical infections for the control of FMD are serious because such animals are likely to disseminate the disease when in contact with susceptible livestock. Recent dissemination of FMD virus (FMDV) in Europe shows that sub-clinically infected animals render trade in animals or animal products a potential risk for importing countries. This clearly demonstrates that the paradigm ‘free of FMD without vaccination’ is not synonymous with ‘risk-free’. The risk of introduction of sub-clinical FMD into FMD-free countries may increase significantly, with the occurrence of large susceptible animal populations, changed agricultural practices, expansion of trade in live animals and animal movements, increased trade in animal products and greater mobility of people. Such changes in circumstances require that national and international authorities remain continuously vigilant to determine any altered risk for importation of FMD.

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