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foot and mouth disease

Following the terrible outbreaks in the 1960s and 2001, and now again in 2007, the very thought of foot and mouth disease creates fear... it's just too much to try an cover by a hobbist such as me.. so will settle for some brief facts and some very useful links.

It's caused by a virus that results in fever, and blisters on foot and mouth. It is spread through the fluid in sores, saliva, dung and milk, and can be airborn.

It can be caught by cattle, sheep, pigs, goats llamas and aplacas, deer and some wild and zoo animals.

when

in favourable conditions, the FMD can live for long periods of time, so could, potentially, turn up at any time of year.

what to look for

(from Defra factsheet:) Fever, severe lameness affecting one or more legs, stiff-legged walk, off colour, tendency to lie down and unwillingness to rise, increased lamb mortality. Mouth symptoms are not often noticeable.

what to do

If you suspect FMD - contact the Defra divisional veterinary manager

prevention

exercise biosecurity, avoid visiting other farms, keep things clean , disinfect.

very well covered in Defra's factsheet 2

useful links

Defra - foot and mouth factsheet

Defra, about foot and mouth

Defra - detecting foot and mouth in sheep

Defra - pictures of infected sheep

Defra - factsheet 2 biosecurity