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FMD Quarantine and Disinfection:

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Introduction and General Information

"The greatest risk is from infected animals and their products. There is a serious though lesser risk from persons who have been in contact with the disease or materials that have been contaminated and vehicles that have been used for the transport of such animals, products or materials" (D37.Para216).

In controlling an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease it is important to reduce as much as possible the risks of transmission of Foot-and-Mouth disease virus from one premises to another.

It is widely recognised that the most common methods of spread are by movement of infected animals and animal products, with movement of people, vehicles and other living and non-living objects (contaminated with the virus) also being important. Locally, virus can spread where animals are in close proximity to one another across farm boundaries, and by the wind. All these means of disease spread except for wind-borne spread can be greatly reduced or eliminated by the correct use of quarantine and disinfection. "Biosecurity measures are critically important to contain the disease and to reduce the risks of onward transmission." (B495.5.w5 - full text provided)

If a farmer or his/her vet suspects FMD on the farm, they should place the property under strict quarantine immediately, without waiting for official confirmation.

Airborne transmission can be important because, while not particularly common, it allows the virus to travel over considerable distances in suitable conditions and because it cannot be controlled.

Disinfectants are used for the killing of infectious organisms. They pose a significant risk to other organisms in the environment, particularly to organisms in waterways, from essential micro-organisms upwards. The use of any disinfectant for the control of a disease such as Foot-and-Mouth disease involves a potential risk of environmental pollution, particularly to waterways and the wildlife associated with them. It is essential that legislation designed to protect waterways and the environment in general from contamination with potentially harmful disinfectants is consulted and followed at all times when disinfectants are used or disposed of.

Disinfectants, particularly when concentrated, can pose a significant risk to the health and safety of persons using them. It is essential that relevant Health and Safety Legislation (e.g. Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 in the UK) be consulted and followed at all times when making up, using and disposing of disinfectants.

Note: For the UK, lists of approved disinfectants are available: for England (at W66.Aug07.w1), for Scotland (W672.Aug07.w1) and for Wales (W673.Aug07.w1).

Recommendations for biosecurity measures which farmers can apply to reduce the risk of spreading FMDV are set out in: D322 - Fact Sheet 2 Biosecurity Preventing the introduction and the spread of foot and mouth disease

(J3.102.w5, J3.148.w5, J16.22.w1, J18.41.w1, J63.14.w1, J72.41.w1, J249.91.w2, B47, B58, B207, D37.Para216., D322 - Fact Sheet 2 Biosecurity Preventing the introduction and the spread of foot and mouth disease - full text provided )

Published Guidelines linked in Wildpro

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Movement of animals and their products

"The greatest risk is from infected animals and their products. There is a serious though lesser risk from persons who have been in contact with the disease or materials that have been contaminated and vehicles that have been used for the transport of such animals, products or materials" (D37.Para216).
Movement of animals

The movement of infected animals is considered to be the most common means by which the disease is spread between premises and the control of animal movements is a vital part of controlling FMD.

  • When infected animals, including those which are early in the course of the disease and are not yet showing clinical signs, are moved from one premises to another, they are brought close to uninfected animals. Virus on the breath from these animals easily crosses the short gap to other animals in the same barn, pen or field, particularly when gathered close together, for example around troughs or in milking parlours. Virus in the saliva, urine, faeces etc. of infected animals may also enter other animals through, for example, minor breaks in the skin.
  • Infected animals may also infect susceptible animals while closely confined in vehicles during transport, and in markets. Spread of infection in markets is of great importance in the spread of the disease, because a few diseased animals entering a market may infect large numbers of animals which are then transported back to different properties, where they may in turn infect the livestock on those properties. Virus in the air and on the walls, floor and ceiling of livestock lorries, may also infect animals transported in the vehicle after infected animals have been transported.
  • In modern agriculture, animals move longer distances and more frequently within countries as well as between countries. This movement increases the risk of the spread of infection when FMD enters a country, particularly in countries which do not use routine vaccination against FMD and in which there is a large population of animals susceptible to the disease.
  • Restrictions on rapid multiple movements of animals between premises, if made a matter of routine, may reduce the risk of spread of disease. (B494.17.w17 - full text provided, B495.5.w5 - full text provided)
  • It has been suggested that in the event of an outbreak, an immediate total 72-hour ban on movements on or off farms within the 10 km area around an infected premises should be imposed (except for genuine emergencies), to allow initial epidemiological tracings to be carried out. (B495.9.w9 - full text provided)
  • It is important to decide in advance how to deal with animals that are already in transit at the time of a movement ban: e.g. whether they should be returned to their original premises, complete their journey, or be taken to the nearest abattoir. (B495.9.w9 - full text provided)
  • Consideration should be given to how limited local movements of animals for welfare purposes can be permitted without compromising disease control, by use of appropriate biosecurity measures. (B494.12.w12 - full text provided)
  • Illegal movements of animals are, by definition, difficult to control, and their potential role in disease movement is difficult to compute.
  • The transport of livestock from an area not considered infected, through an infected area, and into another area not considered to be infected should be controlled and may be limited by legislation. For example, such transport could be limited to rail transport and motorway transport without stops.
  • Traceability of animal movements is also important. 
  • NOTE: Regulations to control the movement of domestic animals must be enforceable if they are to be effective. 
    • In the event of an outbreak of FMD, speed of implementation of transport restrictions, with adequate enforcement, "is essential to prevent additional movement of animals induced by fear of transport restrictions and FMD." (J249.91.w2)
    • Within endemic regions, adequate quarantine and inspection prior to the movement of livestock out of endemic areas into non-endemic areas is essential.
    • Many countries restrict importation of livestock from countries which do not have OIE "FMD-free" status.
    • See: FMD Import and Transport Restrictions (Foot and Mouth Disease Control)
Movement of animal products

Movement of animal products must also be controlled during an FMD outbreak. Infection may be disseminated in meat, hides, bones, milk, semen (also in urine and faeces, including in slurry, dried dung and contaminated soil - see below, Disposal of animal waste, contaminated bedding and foodstuffs).

  • Risks associated with the movement of milk are well recognised. The virus is present in milk before animals show visible signs of disease and spread of infection has followed the feeding of milk to other livestock such as calves and pigs. Any area where a milk spillage occurs should be cleaned and disinfected, whether on a farm, at a dairy or elsewhere. Milk from an infected premises should only be moved under licence, and from a premises under restriction due to possible contact with or proximity to infection only directly to a dairy where it can be properly heat treated.
  • There is also the potential of airborne spread of virus in aerosols from milk tankers, and for this reason pressure release valves on milk tankers used in FMD infected areas should be fitted with filters to prevent the release of virus.
  • The risk associated with artificial insemination (AI) has been recognised for many years. It involves both the possibility that infection will be transmitted in semen from infected bulls and than infection will be spread by people involved in AI, recognising the fact that virus may be present in vaginal secretions of infected animals (including before clinical signs are visible), and that if cleaning and disinfection are not sufficient, personnel involved with AI could become contaminated with vaginal secretions, urine, faeces etc. and spread the disease from one premises to another.
  • It is extremely important to ensure that materials such as hides, skins, bones, slaughterhouse waste and material from knackers yards in infected areas are moved only under licence and in drip-proof containers to an approved place for disposal.
  • Note: Many countries restrict importation of livestock from countries which do not have OIE "FMD-free" status.

J3.131.w1, J3.148.w5, J3.149.w8, J16.22.w1, J70.17.w1, J72.41.w1, J112.25.w5, J249.91.w2, J342.76.w1, B58, B210.89.w89, B494.17.w17 - full text provided, B495.5.w5 - full text provided, D36.Para19, D36.Para.20, D36.AppendixII, D37.Para92, D37.Para111, D37.Para113, D37.Para114, D37.Para222, W18.Apl01.sib1)

In Europe
In the UK

The following documents, originally provided on various websites (several being produced in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK), set out detailed information relating to the risks of spread of FMD by movement of animals and animal products and methods of minimising those risks:

Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Movement of people and disinfection of clothing

"The greatest risk is from infected animals and their products. There is a serious though lesser risk from persons who have been in contact with the disease or materials that have been contaminated and vehicles that have been used for the transport of such animals, products or materials" (D37.Para216).

The movement of people from infected or potentially infected premises to other premises may transport Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus. Movements of people are extremely difficult to monitor and control and historically have been important in the spread of FMD both within and between countries. One of the most important ways in which farmers can protect their stock is by controlling the movement of people onto their farms and insisting that anyone entering the premises undergoes thorough cleaning and disinfection.

For all people who have been handling or in close contact with animals which are or may be infected (all animals of susceptible species, in the face of an outbreak), or have been in a situation where they may have been in contact with/contaminated with milk, dung, urine etc. (including contaminated soil), is important to make sure that outer clothing and footwear are thoroughly disinfected before they leave the premises, and that outer clothing and footwear are also disinfected before entering any premises holding livestock.

Virus may be carried not only on clothes but also on a person (including on hair) and may also be found in air expelled while breathing, coughing, talking, sneezing etc. For this reason a person who has been on a premises which is or is suspected to be infected should ensure that they have done their best to remove live virus from both him or herself (e.g. by thorough showering and hair washing) and by disinfecting clothing, including footwear. Some studies have shown a risk of the virus being transported in the nose and throat, so it is generally recommended that a person who has been in contact with infected animals should not go near susceptible uninfected animals for three to five days (J249.91.w2). A recent study found no transmission to pigs or sheep when people had showered and changed their outer clothing after handling infected pigs, without any time delay. See: Literature Reports: Life Cycle and Transmission.

Anyone LEAVING a place where susceptible animals are present should clean and disinfect as if the premises were already infected. Anyone ENTERING a premises containing susceptible livestock should be cleaned and disinfected on entry as if they have picked up the virus on their shoes etc., even if they have not been near animals, as e.g. public roads may be contaminated.

N.B. Disinfectant footbaths, sprays etc. will not work if:

  1. People do not use them (e.g. worry about damaging leather shoes).
  2. Gross contamination (dung, soil, mud) is not removed first (organic matter stops the disinfectant from working properly).
  3. The wrong disinfectant is used (an effective (approved) disinfectant, at the right concentration and if appropriate with the right amount of detergent added must always be used).
  4. The disinfectant is not kept at the right concentration, allowing for dilution by rain, loss of disinfectant on boots etc.
  5. Incompatible disinfectants are mixed: mixing an acid and an alkali disinfectant (e.g. a citric acid based disinfectant with one based on washing soda) will stop either from working.

Information on using and disposing of disinfectants to minimise the risks of environmental contamination have been provided by the Environment Agency on their Website (W39.31May01.sib4). See: Environment Agency: advice on the use and disposal of disinfectants

Sporting events and other recreational activities should be restricted as considered necessary for disease control. The Northumberland Report set out the following criteria which they considered should be followed in any code of conduct with respect to such activities during an outbreak of FMD and followed for any sporting or recreational activity (D37.Para68):

  1. "In an Infected Area access to agricultural land or to premises adjoining agricultural land should be limited to access for essential purposes.
  2. Persons who live or work on agricultural land in an infected Area, and who are in contact with susceptible animals, should not go onto other agricultural land in Infected, Controlled or 'clean' areas.
  3. Activities which may cause susceptible wild animals, for example deer, to stray from their natural habitats in an Infected Area should be avoided; natural fauna in an infected area should be disturbed as little as possible.
  4. Non-susceptible animals, except those within two miles of infected premises, should be allowed to leave and re-enter an Infected Area provided they are neither housed in close proximity to nor have contact with susceptible animals.
  5. Non-susceptible animals in an Infected Area should on no account be used for the transport of any animal or thing without first being cleansed and disinfected." (D37.Para68).

(J3.89.w1, J19.68.w3, J249.91.w2, B58, D37.Para68, D37.Para138, W39.31May01.sib4)

The following documents, provided on various websites, and many being written specifically in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK, provide information relating to the risks of spread of FMD by movement of people, and methods of minimising those risks:

Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Disinfection of vehicles

"The most valuable protective measure that an individual farmer can introduce is to establish close supervision over access to his farm, to restrict this to essential traffic and to insist on thorough cleansing and disinfection of persons and vehicles entering the farm." (D37.Para138).

Vehicles have considerable potential to transport FMDV between sites. Virus may be transported inside the vehicle (e.g. in the air and on all surfaces after transporting infected animals or carcasses) or on the outside of the vehicle, particularly within gross contaminants such as faeces.

  • Vehicles such as milk tankers and feed delivery lorries are particularly likely to act as transporters of virus from one farm to another, because they commonly visit several farms in one collection or delivery round.
  • It is extremely important for vehicles to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected when leaving infected or potentially infected premises and when entering a premises which is not infected. Disinfection of the outside of a vehicle must consider the whole wheel surface, including the full depth of tread on the tyres, the inside of the wheel arches, the superstructure of the vehicle and the outside of the vehicle in general wherever it may have become contaminated with e.g. animal waste or milk.
  • Unless specially constructed for the purpose, a mat holding disinfectant laid across a road or gateway is not sufficient to disinfect a vehicle. Even if it is long enough to touch the whole circumference of large tyres, it is unlikely to reach deep into the treads, and will certainly not disinfect the wheel arches or the underside of the vehicle.
  • For disinfection of tyres, deep troughs would be required, sufficiently long that the whole of the circumference of the tyres would pass through the disinfectant in the troughs, sufficiently wide for tyres of the vehicle requiring disinfection, and sufficiently deep to reach into the treads of the tyres to their full depth.
    • It has been suggested that for use at a farm entrance two troughs would be required, each sixteen feet long and three feet wide. The disinfectant in the troughs would have to be topped up regularly (disinfectant would be lost both on tyres and through surges over the sides of the troughs) and in cold weather it would be necessary to take measures to prevent freezing. Due to the cost of construction and maintenance of such troughs, and their limitations (e.g. only affecting the wheels) alternative means of disinfection, which can also be used on other surfaces of vehicles, may be more useful.
  • Mats are available (sold commercially) which are designed to hold disinfectant solution, minimise loss of disinfectant and reach up into wheel treads. One example is given on (W35.30May01.sib1). However, these would still not disinfect the chassis, wheel arches, sides of the vehicle etc., where dung, urine or milk may have contaminated the vehicle.
  • Thorough cleaning of the vehicle is required before disinfection, which may be best achieved using a pressure hose, otherwise by thorough washing down. The wheels, wheel arches, superstructure of the vehicle, and any area which has or may have been contaminated by spillage or seepage (e.g. spilt milk) should be cleaned. This removes organic material and grease, so that the disinfectant will be able to work on the surface of the vehicle. Following this, the same areas of the vehicle should be sprayed with a recommended disinfectant at the recommended concentration.
  • If vehicles have been used for the transport of live animals or carcasses, disinfection of the inside of the vehicle is also essential, and any vehicle or container used for the transport of possibly infected animal waste should be cleaned and disinfected with an approved disinfectant immediately after use.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of livestock vehicles routinely prior to entry into a country, and similar routine cleaning and disinfection of all livestock vehicles leaving any livestock market have been suggested as precautions which would reduce the risk of transport of FMD on or in vehicles.

Any vehicle LEAVING a place with animals should be cleaned and disinfected as if the premises were already infected. Any vehicle  ENTERING a premises containing susceptible livestock should be cleaned and disinfected as if it has picked up the virus before reaching the farm/premises, even if it have not been near animals, as public roads etc. may be contaminated.

Information on using and disposing of disinfectants to minimise the risks of environmental contamination were provided in 2001 by the Environment Agency on their Website (W39.31May01.sib4). See: Environment Agency: advice on the use and disposal of disinfectants

Procedures for thorough disinfectant of vehicles and for minimising the movement of vehicles onto farms were set out on the MAFF Website specifically in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK:

(B495.9.w9 - full text provided, J249.91.w2, D37.Para85, D37.Para138, D37.Para139, D322 - full text provided)

Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Disposal of animal waste, contaminated bedding and foodstuffs

Waste products from animals with foot-and-mouth disease may contain considerable amounts of virus. Disposal of animal waste and contaminated bedding from properties which are or may be infected with FMD virus (Infected Premises and other properties in an Infected Area) must be done with care.
  • During an outbreak extra care must be taken that waste products from live animals and carcasses are not moved away from possibly infected farms or slaughterhouses without proper disinfection. Transportation of animal waste out of an Infected area should be prohibited and, if transport from a property within an Infected Area to another site in that area is necessary, the waste should be transported in a vehicle and container are sealed to prevent spillage.
  • It is particularly important to make sure that vehicles used to transport carcasses of culled animals do not leak wastes onto public roads, and that slurry does not get dripped onto roads. Any vehicle or container used for the transport of possibly infected animal waste should be cleaned and disinfected with an approved disinfectant immediately after use.
  • Slurry spraying must also be controlled as this could move infected material if transported from one site to another, may produce aerosols which could then be spread on the wind, and could be picked up from fields after spraying and spread on the feet of wild birds, rats and other animals.
  • When an Infected Premises is cleaned and disinfected, hay, feedstuffs etc. must be disinfected (e.g. using formaldehyde) or if adequate disinfection is not possible, burned or buried with the carcasses. Disinfection of hay is recognised to be difficult. Animal wastes such as slurry must also be disinfected or stored in such a way as to ensure the virus is inactivated. Further information is set out in Literature Reports: General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection.

(D37.Para136, J3.102.w7, D37.Para85, W18.Apl01.sib1).

Infected Premises must be cleaned and disinfected according to the regulations set by the authorities within the country o region - in the UK, as set out by Defra and according to EU regulations.

The following documents, provided on various websites in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK, provide information relating to the risks of spread of FMD by animal wastes, contaminated bedding and foodstuffs and methods of minimising those risks:

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Drainage and Water Run-off

Drainage and water run-off from infected premises into water sources can spread infection - the virus can survive for some time in water.
  • It is important that regulations and guidance documents relating to FMD control are followed in the control and disinfection of drainage and water run-off, for example in preventing slurry stores from becoming overfilled, as this would risk spillage in the event of heavy rain.

The use of any disinfectant for the control of a disease such as Foot-and-Mouth disease involves a potential risk of environmental pollution, particularly to waterways and the wildlife associated with them. It is essential that legislation designed to protect waterways and the environment in general from contamination with potentially harmful disinfectants is not ignored. (W32.Apl01.sib21: MAFF: Guidance on the Storage, Handling and Movement of Animal Manures and Slurries ).

The following advice is quoted from Environment Agency: advice on the use and disposal of disinfectants (W39.31May01.sib4), downloaded May 2001:

When siting disinfecting areas:

  • Consider the position carefully. Choose sites well away from ditches and drains, and where there is no likely threat to water from spillage or run-off.
  • Site footbaths away from drains.
  • When constructing 'pads' for disinfecting vehicles, lay plastic sheeting on the ground with a shallow earth wall under each edge, so that the pad can be driven over but still retains the disinfectant. Straw can then be added to reduce splashing.
  • In difficult locations, consider whether a simple diversion could be made to direct any run-off to a suitable grassy area.

When disposing of used disinfectants:

  • Wherever possible, used disinfectant should be added to a slurry/manure store, with eventual disposal to land in accordance with the MAFF Water Code.
  • Small quantities e.g. the contents of a small footbath, should similarly be added to a slurry/manure store with subsequent disposal to land in accordance with the MAFF Water Code. Where this is not possible, however, such small quantities should be tipped onto an area of permanent grass that poses no likely threat to water.
  • Never dispose of used disinfectant into surface water drains or septic tanks.
  • Straw that has been soaked in disinfectant should be composted, with subsequent spreading onto land in accordance with the MAFF Water Code. On sites where there is no facility to compost then the material should be bagged and taken to a suitably licensed landfill site.

The following documents which give information about drainage and water run-off were produced by the Environment Agency and MAFF in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK:

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Disinfection of buildings and other enclosures

Buildings and other enclosures need to be cleaned thoroughly, preferably using a power hose, after which an appropriate disinfectant is applied (D37.Para138).
  • Disinfection of buildings, other enclosures and equipment may be completed in three stages: initial surface disinfection, applied directly after the source of virus has been removed, thorough cleaning and disinfection, and final disinfection prior to restocking.
  • It is important to ensure that effective disinfectants are used. Many common disinfectants are not effective against FMD virus, but acids and alkalis are effective. Disinfectants must be used at the recommended concentration or they may be ineffective. Organic matter reduced the activity of disinfectants, therefore thorough cleaning is required prior to disinfection. Small amounts of detergent added to disinfectant solutions may increase effectiveness; details of how much to add should be checked for each disinfectant.
  • Different disinfectants may be recommended for different surfaces, for example 0.2% citric acid for milking equipment and 4.0% sodium carbonate for animal pens.

NOTE: It is essential not to mix different disinfectants. Most disinfectants rely on lowering or raising the pH (making the area acid or alkaline) for their action. Mixing an acid and an alkali will result in a more neutral pH which may be ineffective for FMD virus inactivation.

The following document was produced by the Environment Agency in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK,:

For the UK, lists of approved disinfectants are available: for England (at W66.Aug07.w1), for Scotland (W672.Aug07.w1) and for Wales (W673.Aug07.w1).

Principles and procedures for cleansing and disinfection of infected holdings in the EU are set out in COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003-85-EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease - Annex IV - full text provided

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Control of vermin, birds and cats and dogs

"Domestic and wild animals such as dogs, cats and foxes may act as mechanical carriers of foot-and-mouth disease virus, especially the carrion eaters. The extent of the risk will depend on the habits of the different species. Rats may be an even greater risk in transmitting infection since they may carry the virus in their gut for long periods." (D36.Para37).

It has been recognised for a long time that there is a risk of rats, birds, foxes, dogs, cats and other animals spreading FMD virus mechanically, i.e. on their feet, feathers etc. Birds can spread the virus in their droppings for several days after eating contaminated material and virus can be found in the faeces/urine of rats for long times after they have been infected. Scavenging birds such as crows and seagulls are probably the most likely animals to visit infected premises (especially if carcasses are waiting for disposal) and therefore more likely to spread disease. The potential role of wild geese in the spread of the virus has been assessed, as set out in Veterinary Risk Assessment (no number specified): What is the risk of migratory geese spreading foot and mouth disease virus? on the MAFF Website in 2001 (W32.Apl01.sib11).

There is a risk that culling, cleaning and disinfection operations will disturb pests and drive they away from an infected premises, possibly to another farm.

The risk of wild, feral and domestic animals, including birds and vermin, spreading the disease can be reduced by:

  1. Eliminating rats and other pest species from infected or possibly infected premises.
  2. Minimising the time between culling and disposal of carcasses (to reduce the attraction of rats, foxes and other scavengers to infected premises).
  3. Minimising the area over which infected or possibly infected slurry is spread (therefore reducing the area from which birds etc. may pick up contaminated material).

Note: There is a risk of dogs, given bones or similar items, taking these into areas where there are domestic livestock which may eat or sniff at the bones. It is important to control dogs and their food and make sure this cannot happen.

(B495.3.w3 - full text provided, D36.Para34, D36.Para37, D37.Para83, D36.Para84)

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Control of free-ranging wildlife

Wild animals such as birds, rats and flies all may act as mechanical vectors and carry FMDV from one place to another. (J3.102.w5, B58).

In southern Africa fencing has been used for control of FMD, limiting movement of wild animals and contact between those animals and domestic livestock. The use of fences has been controversial, particularly due to the effect of fences in preventing migrations of wild animals and especially in preventing movements during drought (B210.89.w89, J249.91.w1).

Potential role and control of British wildlife

Deer are susceptible to FMD and produce similar amounts of virus to that produced by sheep or cattle. Wild boar are susceptible to FMD and develop disease similar to that seen in domestic pigs; it is probable that they produce similar quantities of virus to that produced by domestic pigs.

  • "There seems to be little doubt that deer may, on occasion, constitute an important reservoir of virus." (B220).
  • During the last outbreak in California, USA, 22,000 deer were culled as part of the disease control operation and about 10% of these were found to be infected. (B58.6.w6)

In areas where deer and domestic livestock generally do not mix, the risk of transmission of FMD by close direct/indirect contact from livestock to deer, and from deer to livestock, is probably relatively small. However, the situation is different in areas in which deer and domestic livestock commonly share grazing and come into close contact with one another; in the UK this may arise in certain parks and also in some upland areas where deer such as Dama dama - Fallow Deer and Cervus elaphus - Red deer (North American Elk) (which get only mild infection but excrete virus) may graze alongside domestic livestock.

During the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK and The Netherlands, a number of people reported finding dead deer with typical FMD lesions, and/or seeing live deer which appeared lame or unwell (P5.40S.w3, V.w6, V.w24). 

  • During the 2001 outbreak in the UK, the few deer which were shot and examined for FMD were all negative. (J3.153.w7)
  • Serosurveillance of wild deer and boar in The Netherlands following the 2001 outbreak did not detect any antibodies to FMDV. (J3.153.w7)

There appears to be little doubt that, at least on occasion, wild deer or wild boar may be an important reservoir of virus and source of virus for domestic livestock (B220, J67.80.w1). However, to date, there has not been any proof of wild deer in Europe being involved in transmission of FMD to domestic livestock. (B58.6.w6, J3.153.w7) The contact structure of wild deer and boar populations in Europe are thought to result in only a low probability of large outbreaks developing in these populations. (J3.153.w7) An epidemiological investigation in 2007 in the UK suggested that deer were unlikely to be involved in spread of FMD between farms, because most of the deer in the local area were Capreolus capreolus - Western roe deer and Muntiacus reevesi - Chinese muntjac., which have small home ranges and get very ill if infected with FMD, therefore are unlikely to move far while infective. Dama dama - Fallow Deer were present only in small numbers (W66.Sept07.w9).

Control of free-ranging animals and for example elimination of a feral population in an area is extremely difficult, requiring huge inputs of time, manpower and other resources. This has been demonstrated by experiences in the UK and round the world. It would be more practical to eliminate any risk posed to domestic livestock from FMD in wildlife by reducing the risk that the wild animals will get infected in the first place, by controlling the disease in domestic species.

Control of contact between deer and domestic species is only practical if the domestic livestock are kept housed, as most fencing on farms (except for deer farms) is not deer-proof.

Contact between Sus scrofa - Wild boar and domestic livestock (particularly pigs) can be minimised by making sure food (including carcasses) is not present to encourage wild boars to visit premises, to maintain good fences (electric fencing may be useful to discourage wild boar) and to keep sows on heat housed.

Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus - West European hedgehog) are susceptible to FMD by natural infection and may develop severe and fatal disease. It has been suggested that hedgehogs may play a role in local area spread of the disease, but one of the effects of the disease is to cause severe lameness, and infected hedgehogs will not travel long distances. (J19.45.w1, J42.81.w1)

Other wildlife species may transport virus mechanically, although susceptibility of some species such as Talpa europaea - European moleArvicola terrestris - European water vole and Oryctolagus cuniculus - European rabbit. to FMD by inoculation has been demonstrated. (B58).

It has been recommended that activities which would be likely to disturb susceptible species and encourage them to move into or out of an Infected Area, or onto Infected Premises should be avoided.

(J19.45.w1, J42.81.w1, B58.6.w6, B127, B220, B495.3.w3 - full text provided, D36.Para37, D37.Para68, P5.40S.w3, V.w6, V.w24)

Principles and requirements for restocking in the EU are set out in COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003-85-EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease - Annex V - full text provided

The following documents related to wild animals and their control were produced for MAFF in response to the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK and were made publicly available on their Website:

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Time required for quarantine restrictions and disinfection BEFORE restocking

The time required before an infected premises can be re-stocked will depend on the regulations in force in a given country. This may change over time and depending on the circumstances involving a particular outbreak.

Suggested times to wait before restocking include:

  • "At least 21 days after completion of the final disinfection of the holding" (W19.Sept07.w1 - COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003-85-EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease - full text provided).
  • Twenty eight days after final disinfection, or 42 days after slaughter, whichever is the earlier, with the provisos that were a number of premises have been affected in an area the time should be taken to relate to the time of the last case and that a longer time should elapse prior to restocking with sheep, particularly on unenclosed land (D36.para135, D37.para26, D37.para82).
  • Six weeks after slaughter is completed or four weeks after disinfection is completed, but longer periods in areas with continuing heavy infection (J3.102.w7).

Defra set out in its 2007 guide D323 - Fact Sheet 3 What will happen when foot and mouth disease (FMD) is suspected or confirmed states that:

  • "On all premises where animals are culled to control disease, cleansing and disinfection (C & D) must take place before new animals can be brought in to restock. The Animal Health Divisional Office will supervise the process to ensure that it has been undertaken to a satisfactory standard.
  • C & D usually involves cleaning areas and equipment with approved disinfectants but can also include the premises (or parts of the premises) remaining under restrictions for a long period, possibly up to 12 months to allow natural virus decay. This may be an option if you do not wish to undertake usual C & D." 

(D323)

It further notes that:

  • "EXD2(FMD) [Restriction notice for infected premises, previously Form A] restrictions remain in place until either:
    The premises have been restocked and the animals show no signs of disease on clinical inspections and from lab test on samples. Restocking can only take place after a minimum interval after secondary C&D has been completed (the inspector will advise you how long this needs to be) or
    A longer period of time has elapsed after which restrictions are revoked and you may stock without licensing, inspections and sampling
    ."

(D323)

(MAFF regulations in 2001 (W32.Apl01.sib19) set out that after cleaning and disinfection had been completed and signed off by the Inspector in charge of the local Disease Emergency Control Centre (after visiting and inspecting the premises, at least 21 days would be required, after which it would be necessary to apply to MAFF for a licence to move animals onto the Form A premises. Following this, restocking with a limited number of animals was allowed, with these animals being given access to all areas and tested by blood sampling as well as inspection for signs of disease before full restocking was allowed. If the disease recurs on the premises, the animals were slaughtered, and cleaning and disinfection repeated. These regulations were set out in more detail in: MAFF: Restocking Form A premises: A farmers guide, which MAFF made available on their Website (W32.Apl01.sib19).)

N.B. Past experience has shown that disease may recur on a previously infected premises following restocking. Suggested sources of virus for such reinfection include infected material remaining on the premises, and spread from other infected premises.

(J3.102.w7, D36.para135, D37.para26, D37.para82, D323, W18.Apl01.sib1).

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When to lift restrictions for unaffected stock in a region which has suffered a FMD Outbreak

The time required before restrictions on movements may be lifted for unaffected stock depend on the regulations in force in a given country. 

In the UK in 2007, for the Protection Zone (minimum radius of 3 km around the Infected Premises) and Surveillance Zone (minimum radius of 10 km around infected premises): (D323)

  • Restrictions on premises in the Protection Zone and Surveillance Zones cannot be lifted "until there is confidence that no disease is present, either on the premises or elsewhere within the Zones." (D323) This will be determined by a series of inspections. Additionally:
  • "The PZ cannot be merged with the surveillance zone until at least 15 days after preliminary cleansing and disinfection of the IP and then only if no disease is suspected or confirmed and the results of any samples taken are all negative. (D323)
  • "The SZ must remain in force for at least another 15 days although again it will remain in force if further disease is suspected or confirmed in the area." (D323)
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Authors & Referees

Authors Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS
Referee Suzanne I Boardman BVMS MRCVS

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