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Carcass disposal associated with mass slaughter and the capacity to rapidly eliminate the source of Foot and Mouth (FMD) virus is described as essential for prevention of further spread as well as the possibility of recurrence or recrudescence of FMD in the future. According to the Executive Summary of the 1994 USDA:APHIS:VS paper Foot and Mouth Disease - Sources of Outbreaks and Hazard Categorization of Modes of Virus Transmission: "Sources were reported for 627 of more than 880 primary FMD outbreaks worldwide from 1870 through 1993 with 22 percent attributed to airborne transmission or birds."

The AVIS Consortium consists of a working partnership between the Institute for Animal Health, UK; The Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome; L'Office International des Epizooties, Paris and Telos ALEFF Ltd., UK and has provided the following information on disease eradication, slaughter and disposal: "The objective of carrying out a slaughter policy is to eliminate the source of FMD virus. Ruminants infected with FMD can become persistently infected carriers of the virus. Vaccination does not prevent the establishment of carriers. There are currently no entirely reliable diagnostic tests to detect carrier animals and there is no method of 'curing' the carrier state. For these reasons, slaughter of animals is theonly way of ensuring complete elimination of the virus. The aim of disposal is to destroy carcasses in a way that minimizes the possibility of further spread of disease."

As for the potential impact of prolonged exposure of the FMD virus source to the ecosystem, the USDA APHIS paper on FMD outbreaks categorizes ticks, flies, and biting flies as high hazards, based either on transmission capability or long carrier status (mechanically or biologically). Houseflies can carry FMDV both externally and internally; whether they can transmit the virus is unknown (length of carrier status: 10 weeks) with experimental transovarial infection of a portion of a population of Dermacentor ( Anocentor ) ticks has been reported (length of carrier status: 15-20 weeks).

For Equestrian News and additional research information sources on Foot and Mouth Disease, visit:

Emerging Infectious Disease Network (EIDNet)
Topic: Foot And Mouth Disease

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