How to Prevent Livestock From Foot and Mouth Disease

How to Prevent Livestock From Foot and Mouth Disease – Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that has a significant economic impact. For decades, foot and mouth disease has become a massive threat to livestock industries and economy, should an outbreak occur.

All kind of farming in USA and farmers can play a role in helping to prevent livestock from foot and mouth disease outbreak. Most especially farmers that are keeping Chickens, Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Pigs.

Although, foot and mouth disease is very unlikely to affect chickens, poultry or other birds. It also rarely affects humans. But that doesn’t mean foot and mouth disease should be taken for granted if you’re a livestock’s keeper. As a livestock’s keeper you should considered risk at all time.

Foot and mouth disease is an infectious diseases commonly spread through the direct transfer. Although most foot and mouth infections are mild and mortality rates are relatively low, about 5 % in cattle, the disease is highly contagious.

Foot and mouth disease can be spread in manure, urine and other bodily fluids from infected animals. It remains active on clothes, shoes, tools and vehicle used for livestock. This is why livestock’s keeper should always clean their shoes or wash all equipment used.

According to WHO, –  It is a transboundary animal disease (TAD) that deeply affect the production of livestock and disrupting regional and international trade in animals and animal products.

The disease is estimated to circulate in 77% of the global livestock population, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in a limited area of South America.

Countries that are currently free of FMD without vaccination remain under constant threat of an incursion. Seventy-five percent of the costs attributed to FMD prevention and control are incurred by low income and lower-middle income countries.

Causes of Foot and Mouth Disease

According to WHO, – Foot and mouth disease is caused by an Aphthovirus of the family Picornaviridae, seven strains (A, O, C, SAT1, SAT2, SAT3, and Asia1) are endemic in different countries worldwide.

Each strain requires a specific vaccine to provide immunity to a vaccinated animal. Its prevention is based on the presence of early detection and warning systems and the implementation of effective surveillance among other measures.

Foot and mouth disease is the first disease for which the OIE established an official list of disease-free countries which can be officially recognized as free of the disease either in their entirety or in defined zones and compartments.

How to Prevent Livestock From Foot and Mouth Disease

What role can livestock keepers play to prevent livestock from foot and mouth disease? Livestock keepers should play an important role in preventing the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD).

1. Beware of meat and dairy you feed your livestock

Meat and dairy are rich source of several essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin B12 and iron, while dairy products are a rich source of protein and calcium.

Many uninformed livestock keepers sometimes collect scraps for their livestock. Even if you are being careful, these scraps could contain meat or dairy by accident. That is why feeding kitchen scraps  to livestock is not advisable.

Meat and dairy are fine for livestock in small amounts. But there is a small chance that the meat or dairy could carry foot and mouth disease (FMD).

If the scraps are consumed by livestock, such as chicken or pig, it could result in an foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. The risk of diseases like foot and mouth disease are the reason why feeding  scraps to livestock is not ideal.

Therefore, an important role to play to prevent livestock from foot and mouth disease is to  beware of feeding  your livestock with meat and dairy. Only give your livestock scraps that doesn’t have contact with meat, eggs or dairy. Don’t feed your livestock with scraps from party, restaurants or supermarket waste because the risk of contamination is very high.

2. Take biosecurity measures 

In commercial livestock farm, biosecurity measures  involves a set of fundamental practices and strategies. These measures prevent the entry and transmission of foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak and other pathogens in the farms, thus minimizing the negative impact foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak can have on livestock production.

The presence of meat and dairy in animal farming feed can cause all sorts of biosecurity risks and spread diseases including foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak and mad cow disease. That is why it is so important to take biosecurity measures so you can be careful of what you feed your livestock.

Livestock that have contact with cattle or other related animals can pose a biosecurity risk in the case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. For example, If chickens come into contact with affected livestock, they could  carry foot and mouth disease (FMD) on their feet or feathers.

For this reason, it important to take good biosecurity measures by moving an infected livestock around as little as possible and keeping them confined.

3. Avoid touching other livestock with contact hand

In the process of moving aside an infected livestock, the possibility of having contact with the infected animal cannot be denied. It is important you avoid touching other livestock with the same hand that had contact with the infected animal until is it properly cleaned and sanitized.

You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, human can get infected with foot, and mouth disease if they have the virus on their hands and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. 

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