Christy J. Hanthorn, DVM, MS and Danelle Bickett-Weddle, DVM, MPH, PhD, DACVPM
Swine producers are closely watching the growing African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak. Did you know there is a threat just as devastating that can impact cattle? That threat is foot and mouth disease (FMD).
The USDA values preparedness and funded the Secure Beef Supply (SBS) Plan (www.securebeef.org) to help producers prepare to protect their cattle from FMD. Colorado Department of Agriculture has been actively involved in the SBS Plan and has resources for feedyards and cow-calf operations:
What Does FMD Look Like?
Foot and mouth disease (FMD), sometimes called “hoof” and mouth disease, causes blisters on the feet and in the mouth of cloven-hooved animals (cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats). It does NOT affect public health or food safety. Meat and milk are safe to eat and drink.
- 7-minute FMD video: https://youtu.be/rKcDySABYhc
- 1-page FMD handout: http://securebeef.org/Assets/SBS_FMD_Handout.pdf
- FMD Pocket Guide with images of blisters over 18 days: http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/pdf/foot-and-mouth-disease-pocket-guide-cattle
Preventing FMD Spread
Controlling the spread of this highly contagious animal disease involves stopping animal and animal product (cattle, semen, embryos, manure) movement in the areas around infected animals. Once stopped, restarting movement will require a special permit, issued by Regulatory Officials, after a producer meets certain requirements. The Secure Beef Supply (SBS) Plan provides guidance for producers who have cattle with no evidence of FMD infection prepare to meet movement permit requirements like those listed here: http://securebeef.org/beef-producers/permit-guidance/
Secure Beef Supply (SBS) Plan
The SBS Plan (1-page handout: http://securebeef.org/Assets/SBS-Plan_Handout.pdf) supports FMD control for infected farms and business continuity for uninfected farms. State and Federal animal health officials recognize the need to destroy FMD without destroying the livestock industry. It is a tough balancing act. Producers who want to tip the scales in favor of outbreak survivability can prepare now by:
- Having a National Premises Identification Number (PIN) issued by Colorado’s Department of Agriculture: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/aganimals/colorado-location-identification-lid-registration-premises or call 303-869-9130
- Writing an operation-specific enhanced biosecurity plan
- Example plans and templates for feedlots and cattle on pasture are available at: http://securebeef.org/beef-producers/biosecurity/
- Keeping movement records of animals, people, equipment, and other items onto your operation
- Movement logs are available at: http://securebeef.org/beef-producers/movement-records/
Preparing for Stopped Movement
At the beginning of an FMD outbreak, it may take several days or weeks for Regulatory Officials to have confidence that animals can be moved safely. During this time of limited movement, producers are encouraged to develop contingency plans for their operation: http://securebeef.org/Assets/Secure-Beef-Supply-Contingency-Planning-Producers.pdf
Isn’t There a Vaccine for FMD?
Vaccination of animals against FMD is one tool that Regulatory Officials may use during an outbreak. Many factors affect the decision to use vaccine during an outbreak as explained in this 8-minute video:
Explore the resources available to help you protect your animals and business (www.securebeef.org). For more information about the SBS Plan efforts in Colorado, contact Dr. Keith Roehr, State Veterinarian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Nick Striegel, Assistant State Veterinarian at: email@example.com or Dr. Maggie Baldwin, Animal Incident Management Specialist at: firstname.lastname@example.org.