U.K. Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic Officially Over

The United Kingdom has regained its status as a foot and mouth disease (FMD)-free country at an international meeting of veterinarians in Paris, France, in January. The official statement was made Jan. 22 by the U.K.'s Department of Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs. Although horses cannot contract the disease of cloven-hooved animals, they can serve as mechanical vectors for FMD by carrying spores on their body surfaces. (For more information on FMD, see www.TheHorse.com/fmd.)

According to epidemiologists, the movement of infected animals (mainly sheep) before the imposition of national movement controls was responsible for FMD introduction into at least nine of the 12 major geographical groups of cases. Suggested ways to prevent outbreaks in the future included animal identification and control of animal movement, biosecurity, farmer education, veterinary visits to farms, and effective disease surveillance.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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