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Tom Corbett, GovernorGeorge Greig, Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Foot and Mouth Disease Program

Foot and Mouth Disease causes blisters, chronic lameness, weight loss, and decreased production, and can bring about abortions and sterility. It is very common for these blisters to appear on the tongue and inside of the mouth, inside the nostrils, on the coronary band, teats, udder, snout of pigs and area between the toes.

The incubation period for foot and mouth is two to 16 days. Foot and mouth is rarely fatal, however, it can cause severe economic hardships due to loss of production and loss of export markets.

If you have an animal that you suspect may have signs of a reportable disease, please contact your veterinarian or the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-772-2852. After hour phone calls between 4PM and 8AM, weekends and holidays, are transferred to a voice mail paging system. A veterinarian will return emergency calls promptly. 

USDA Restrictions - Products Banned from Countries Affected with Foot and Mouth Disease

  1. Prohibited products (with the CFR citation listed):
    • Live ruminants (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Live swine (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of ruminant or swine (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) products derived from ruminants or swine (other than meat and milk/milk products) (9 CFR 94.2)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) organs, glands, extracts or secretions derived from ruminants or swine (9 CFR 94.3)
    • NOTE: exceptions are allowed under permit with additional processing for pharmaceutical or biological purposes
  2. Prohibited products (with the CFR citation listed):
    • Live ruminants (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Live swine (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of ruminant or swine (9 CFR Part 94.1)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) products derived from ruminants or swine (other than meat and milk/milk products) (9 CFR 94.2)
    • Fresh (chilled or frozen) organs, glands, extracts or secretions derived from ruminants or swine (9 CFR 94.3)
    • NOTE: exceptions are allowed under permit with additional processing for pharmaceutical or biological purposes
    • Ruminant or swine semen (9 CFR Part 98.34)
    • Ruminant or swine embryos (9 CFR Part 98.12)
  3. Meat and meat products:
    • Cured or cooked meat and meat products may be allowed entry under certain conditions as specified in 9 CFR Part 94.4. Dried or cured meat is allowed entry if it meets the following conditions: all bones have been removed, the meat was held in an unfrozen, fresh condition for at least three days and thoroughly cured and dried to a minimum moisture to protein ratio of 2.25:1.
    • Canned meat is allowed entry if it is de-boned meat that has been commercially heat processed in a hermetically sealed container such that it is shelf stable without refrigeration.
    • Cooked meat is also allowed entry, but the cooking process and establishment must be approved in advance by APHIS.
  4. Milk products:
    • Milk products are addressed in 9 CFR Part 94.16.
    • The following products are specifically exempt from this part and are; therefore, allowed unrestricted entry from Foot and Mouth Disease affected countries: cheese (except cheese with liquid or containing other restricted items such as meat), butter and butter oil. Also, such things as yogurt, cream liqueurs and chocolate products are not restricted.
    • Milk products which are in concentrated liquid form and have been heat processed in a hermetically sealed container such that they are shelf stable without refrigeration are allowed entry.
    • Dry milk and dry milk products may be allowed entry with consignment to approved establishments for further processing or storage. Other milk products, such as condensed milk, sterilized milk, casein and caseinates, lactose, etc. may be allowed entry under permit if the processing
    • Conditions are such that they would inactivate the Foot and Mouth Disease virus or if they are intended for industrial use.
    • Milk and milk products which do not fall into the above categories are prohibited.
  5. Restricted entry products:
    The following products are not allowed unrestricted entry from countries affected with Foot and Mouth Disease, but they are not completely prohibited either. This means that they can be imported without a permit under certain restrictions with the primary restriction being consignment upon arrival to an approved establishment for further processing.
    • Untanned hides and skins (9 CFR Part 95.5)
    • Raw, unwashed wool, hair and bristles (9 CFR Part 95.7)
    • Glue stock, defined as fleshings, hide cuttings and parings, tendons or other collagenous parts of animal carcasses (9 CFR Part 95.9)
    • Untreated bones, horns and hoofs (9 CFR Part 95.11)
    • Blood meal, blood albumin, bone meal, intestines and other animal byproducts for industrial use (9 CFR Part 95.15)
    • Glands, organs, ox gall or bile, bone marrow and like materials (9 CFR Part 95.17)
  6. Restricted entry products - import permit required:
    Many other processed products derived from ruminant or swine by-products may be allowed entry under import permit conditions. There is no consolidated list of these products, as new products are continuously being developed. An importer will submit a permit application form detailing the processing conditions of the product. If it is determined that the process will inactivate the Foot and Mouth Disease virus, then a permit will be issued and the product will be allowed entry under those conditions.

Information for Producers

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is an extremely contagious viral disease that affects cloven-footed animals especially domestic cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. FMD is rarely fatal to adult infected animals, but causes pain and suffering to those animals, which leads to a severe drop in production. The disease can be devastating to the economy of an infected country. 

The United States has been free of Foot and Mouth Disease since 1929. The disease is currently known to exist in Asia, Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East. Although a vaccine is available against the disease, vaccinated animals can become carriers if exposed to the virus. Therefore, using the vaccine would cause a nation to lose the status of "Free of FMD." It is likely that all vaccinated animals would have to be destroyed once the outbreak is over in order for a country to regain FMD free status.

It is important for producers and veterinarians to be aware of the clinical signs of FMD infection and report any suspicious animals immediately. The first signs of FMD in animals that are usually noticed are:

  • Lameness
  • Decreased feed intake
  • Blisters

 Infection with FMD causes:

  • Blisters - blisters (vesicles) form in the mouth, on the tongue, dental pad, lips and gums, between the toes and/or on the coronary band. Blisters may also form on the udder and teats and on the snouts of pigs. The blisters rupture after a few days and discharge fluid, leaving raw, ulcerated areas on the skin or mucous membranes.
  • Fever - infected animals usually develop a fever. Temperatures rise markedly especially in young animals and usually fall in about 48 hours. 
  • Saliva - excessive, foamy saliva is a common sign due to pain from blisters in the mouth. 
  • Abortions - abortions often occur and conception rates may be low.
  • Milk production - Milk production from infected cows drops suddenly and recovered cows seldom produce milk at their former rates.
  • Meat - meat animals do not normally regain the lost weight for months.
  • Heart Muscle - FMD can be fatal to young animals due to damage to the heart muscle from myocarditis (inflammation of the muscular walls of the heart) caused by the virus.

The virus that causes FMD can be inactivated by several disinfectants including household bleach .It can also be killed by extremes in pH, sunlight and high temperatures although the virus has been shown to survive pasteurization at 72 degrees C (15 seconds). It can survive in the environment at freezing temperatures. It can survive in the soil for almost a month in cool weather, about three days during the summer months. It may even live in stored hay for up to four to five months in cool, dry conditions. 

Although Foot and Mouth Disease does not pose a serious risk to human health, humans can act as vectors for the virus and can spread infection among animals or between farms. Methods of transmission of FMD include:

  • Direct contact with clinically ill, recovered (carrier) animals or exposed vaccinated animals. Virus particles can be found in body fluids including urine, feces, saliva, semen and milk and also in exhaled breath.
  • The FMD virus can survive in the lungs and nasal passages of humans for several days and in the tonsils for several weeks. Virus particles are released and can infect susceptible animals when the person exhales.
  • The FMD virus can survive for several weeks on clothes and shoes especially if they are dirty.
  • Pets or other animals roaming the area can carry the virus.
  • Contaminated meat and cheese products.
  • Airborne virus particles can be carried in air currents for up to 40 miles.

In order to reduce the risk of FMD spreading to farms in the United States, producers are being asked to increase their levels of bio-security. The following recommendations have been developed:

  • Do not allow visitors who have traveled from a FMD-infected country or a high-risk country enter your property. If they must, have them shower upon arrival and provide clean clothing and shoes for them. Any items that accompanied them must be cleaned and disinfected immediately. 
  • Pets that have traveled internationally should be bathed.
  • Do not allow pets to roam freely on your property. They may become carriers of the FMD virus or other diseases.
  • Limit the traffic onto your property, both human and vehicular.
  • If supplies or equipment is shared between farms, it should be cleaned and disinfected between farms.
  • Keep new animals isolated from other animals already on the premises for at least four weeks, and check them daily for any signs of illness.
  • Observe your animals for any unusual behavior especially lameness, decreased appetite, increased salivation and blisters. Report any suspicious animals immediately to PDA, USDA or to your veterinarian.

Information for Owners of Horses and Pets

Horses and other animals, including dogs and cats, are not susceptible to disease from the FMD virus. However, like humans, these animals can act as vectors of the virus and spread it to susceptible animals. 

In order to reduce the risk of horses and other animals acting as vectors of disease, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Do not allow horses or other animals to mingle with animals that are susceptible to FMD (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, elk, and other cloven-hooved animals). Horses should not be pastured with or stabled near susceptible animals, and other animals (dogs, cats, chickens, goats, etc) should not be allowed to roam loose on a farm on which susceptible animals are kept.
  • Animals that are taken off the farm for shows or fairs should be isolated from susceptible animals for at least 2 weeks when they return to the farm. The animals should be brushed, bathed, and rinsed with a vinegar solution (50% vinegar in water) before leaving the show or fair, and again after returning to the farm. All organic material should be removed from horses' hooves before bathing and rinsing. The bottoms of the feet in all animals are a very important area that should not be overlooked when bathing and rinsing.
  • Any equipment that has accompanied these animals to shows or fairs should be cleaned and disinfected (a bleach solution of 2 gallons bleach to 3 gallons water has been recommended) before being allowed back onto the farm.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, or PDA, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, has heightened security at all ports of entry into the United States to reduce the risk of FMD being introduced into this country. Restrictions on imports of animals, animal products, and used farm equipment are in place. Educational materials and programs are being used to alert international travelers, producers, and veterinarians, to make people aware of risk reduction measures. The PDA and USDA have developed plans for containment and eradication of FMD if the disease is identified in the United States.

The plans for containment and eradication of FMD call for quarantine and removal of susceptible animals in the event of a confirmed case of FMD. All susceptible animals within a certain distance of the infected premises (the exact distance will be determined on a case-by-case basis) will be humanely destroyed, and all potentially infected material in that area will be destroyed. 

Other animals, such as horses and pets, will have to be isolated from susceptible animals and will be required to observe all quarantine restrictions, to avoid spreading the disease to other areas.  Bathing and rinsing with vinegar will be used to keep the animals clean until the quarantine has been lifted.

Travel Recommendations

These recommendations have been published for travelers that have recently been in countries infected with FMD: If you must visit a facility that contains livestock or wildlife, avoid doing so for at least five days before traveling to the United States. The list of sites to avoid includes, but is not limited to, farms, zoos, stockyards or auctions, animal laboratories, abattoirs and fairs. 

Before traveling to the United States:

  • All clothing including outerwear and shoes should be washed or dry-cleaned. To clean shoes, remove dirt and wipe the entire surface with a cloth dampened with a solution of bleach (one ounce household bleach mixed in one gallon of water). Baggage and other items such as cell phones, wristwatches, eyeglasses, portable radios, etc. that may have been contaminated should also be cleaned and wiped with a bleach-dampened cloth.
  • Each traveler should bathe and shampoo hair and gargle with a disinfecting mouthwash. The nasal passages should be cleaned as well as possible.
  • Any pets that will be traveling to the United States should be thoroughly bathed before leaving.

After entering the United States, avoid any contact with livestock, wildlife or with another person who will be in contact with livestock or wildlife for at least five days. For people that are employed on farms or in facilities that contain such animals or for people who plan to visit these facilities in the United States, extra precautions should be taken. If going directly to a farm or livestock or wildlife facility upon entering the country, visitors should shower and be provided with clean clothes immediately after arrival there. The visitor's clothes and personal items should be washed and disinfected. All direct contact with livestock and wildlife should be avoided for five days after entering the United States, avoid any contact with livestock, wildlife or with another person who will be in contact with livestock or wildlife for at least five days. 

Pets should again be bathed upon arrival in the United States. This will be the responsibility of the pet owner.

Transmission of Foot and Mouth Disease

Although Foot and Mouth Disease does not pose a serious risk to human health, humans can act as vectors for the virus and can spread infection among animals or between farms. Methods of transmission of FMD include:

  • Droplets: Direct contact with clinically ill, recovered (carrier) animals, or exposed vaccinated animals: Virus particles can be found in body fluids, including urine, feces, saliva, semen, and milk, and also in exhaled breath.
  • People: The FMD virus can survive in the lungs and nasal passages of humans for several days, and in the tonsils for several weeks. Virus particles are released and can infect susceptible animals when the person exhales.
  • Clothing: Virus particles can survive on contaminated clothing (the FMD virus can survive for several weeks on clothes and shoes, especially if these articles are dirty).
  • Other animals: Movement of pets or other animals through an infected area can spread the virus.
  • Food products: Contaminated meat and cheese products can spread the virus.
  • Air: Airborne virus particles can be carried in air currents for up to 40 miles.

Specific Recommendations

Fair Livestock Superintendents Bio-security Checklist

Livestock Exhibitors Bio-security Checklist

On-Farm Bio-security Recommendations

Alert for Exhibitors at Pennsylvania Fairs

Bio-security Recommendations for Farm Visits

Only Three are Free...The Others Have It

Only three continents, North America, Australia, and Antarctica, are considered as being free of FMD as of 6/01/01. All other continents, including Europe, South America, Africa, Middle East and Asia, have had reported cases of FMD in the last eighteen months. 

Countries most recently infected with FMD:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Netherlands
  • Swaziland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
    (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)
  • Uruguay

Disinfections

The virus that causes FMD can be inactivated by several disinfectants, including household bleach. It can be killed by extremes in pH (below ph6 and above ph11); sunlight, and high temperatures, although the virus has been shown to survive single pasteurization at 161.6 degrees F. (15 seconds). It can survive in the environment at freezing temperatures: It can survive in the soil for almost a month in cool weather, about three days during the sunny, summer months. It may even live in stored hay for up to four to five months in cool, dry conditions. 

Contact

Dr. Nanette Hanshaw
Chief, Animal and Poultry Health Division
(717) 783-6897
 
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