Foot and Mouth Disease Information

Foot and Mouth situation in Asia ( Posted: May 26, 2010)

Before you disregard this message because the title says “in Asia”, PLEASE keep in mind that we have thousands of visitors from Asia entering our country every month. Do you think it's possible that someone from an FMD-affected farm in Asia could pass through US customs without having their shoes disinfected? If yes, will that person visit a farm or farm-related business during their stay? I hope not.


Vesicular Disease = blisters or small round open sores located anywhere on the mouth, feet, or teats of these animals.

Click here to view photos of animals with Foot and Mouth disease.

Foot and Mouth Disease Photo
Foot and Mouth Disease Photo
Foot and Mouth Disease Photo

The After-hours Emergency Disease Hotline is (302) 233.1480

Please store it in your cell phone if you have a minute. I would rather investigate 10 “false alarms” than miss the real deal. Here are a few points about the Asia situation, which could easily apply to the US, Canada, or Mexico should the virus make its way into this part of the world either accidentally or through an act of agroterrorism:

  • Japan was previously free of FMD for 10 years (since 2000). Between April 2010 and May 25, 2010, the number of confirmed farms has risen to 201, involving a total of 147,894 animals including 19,720 cattle, 128,159 pigs, 7 goats and 8 sheep. There are several additional suspected cases.

  • Do you think that following this huge 2010 FMD outbreak in Japan, their veterinary services (government) group will be doing extra training with practicing vets and producers on how to identify and report clinical signs of disease QUICKLY? Were they doing that sort of training prior to the outbreak? I don't know. We (Delaware) recently offered Foreign Animal Disease courses for “brushing up” on how to identify and report a suspected foreign animal disease. See last paragraph if you're interested in more details on upcoming classes.

  • S. Korea has reported that they think a farm worker who immigrated from China or Mongolia brought FMD into S. Korea unknowingly when he received a package of clothes and shoes from an area where FMD was ongoing in animals. It is thought that following the initial introduction from outside of S. Korea, a private veterinarian spread the virus to 5 other farms as he did his rounds. That outbreak was contained, but a month later a 2nd outbreak was thought to be caused by a Korean farmer visiting China and returning to his farm without properly disinfecting his clothing. It is VERY EASY to carry the FMD virus on clothing and footwear.

  • During 2009, China reported 14 FMD outbreaks which were declared resolved. So far in 2010, there have been at least 3 outbreaks reported: one in dairy cattle, which reportedly was controlled by stamping out, and two outbreaks of FMD on pig farms; both were reportedly controlled by stamping out.

My office will be offering another refresher Foreign Animal Disease course in the Fall for practicing vets. We are also adding classes for Animal Producers in Fall and Winter 2010-2011, so that interested farmers can come in to see photos/videos of foreign animal diseases and be made aware of what to do should they see something suspicious in their animals. Brochures explaining more about the DDA classes we will be offering for both veterinarians and animal producers can be found at the following links:
Brochure: Foreign Animal Diseases for Practitioners
Brochure: Foreign Animal Diseases for Producers

If you would like us to notify you when the class dates are scheduled, please call our office at (302) 698-4500.

Thank you for your continued diligence,

Item Doc

Heather L. Hirst, DVM MS
State Veterinarian
Delaware Department of Agriculture
(302) 698.4500