United States Offers Foot and Mouth Disease Measures

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced March 13 that it is temporarily prohibiting the importation of animals and animal products from the European Union into the United States. This temporary action is being taken following confirmation of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in France. The ban does not include horses, as horses are not susceptible to the disease.

Horses have been allowed to enter from FMD-affected countries for years, but must undergo strict disinfection protocol upon importation. Countries affected in the current European outbreak of foot and mouth disease will simply be added to the list of FMD-affected countries, and horses from these countries will be subject to the disinfection protocol.

On February 21, USDA announced similar actions regarding the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. These measures are part of a coordinated prevention program to ensure the disease does not spread into the United States. In recent weeks, USDA has stepped up measures to guard against foot-and-mouth disease.

FMD is a highly contagious and economically devastating disease of ruminants and swine. The United States has been free of FMD since 1929. FMD is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most because it spreads widely and rapidly and because it has grave economic consequences. Humans are not susceptible to the disease. Current information on foot-and-mouth disease and traveler questions and answers are available on the Internet at www.usda.gov.

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