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How predictable were the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in Europe in 2001 and is vaccination the answer?
|Author(s) :||Y. Leforban|
The author raises three important questions on the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Europe in 2001: were these linked to stopping preventive vaccination, could these outbreaks have been forecast and were they avoidable, and is vaccination an efficient tool to control outbreaks? The replies to these questions are based on recent history of FMD in Europe. The author demonstrates that the 2001 outbreaks were not linked to ceasing vaccination in Europe in 1991. He also attempts to understand the reasons which encouraged the United Kingdom not to use vaccination to halt the progression of the disease, despite the clear demonstration that vaccination is a useful tool in arresting the spread of an epidemic. In conclusion, the author suggests that substantial changes to European policy for FMD control used for the past ten years are not necessary, but that recourse to emergency vaccination should be considered as an important control option in the future. This option should be optimised by ensuring that differential serological tests are performed in parallel with emergency vaccination, thereby enabling the identification and subsequent elimination of infected herds.