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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Eradication of Foot-and-Mouth Disease: a Parallel Problem


Submitted to: Developments in Biological Standardization
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 19, 2001
Publication Date: August 28, 2001

Interpretive Summary: The handling of dangerous pathogens is a matter of considerable importance. This issue is of particular importance to the USA for foot-and-mouth disease because of the devastating consequences which would result if an outbreak occurred. This paper discusses the precautions which are taken to ensure as far as possible that the virus is handled without risk to susceptible animals.

Technical Abstract: Poliomyelitis and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) can both be prevented by vaccination. The vaccines are highly effective but they differ in that, whereas in most countries attenuated viruses have been used to control poliomyelitis, FMD vaccines are prepared from the virulent viruses. The reasons for choosing inactivated vaccines for FMD are (i) the demonstration several decades ago that a virus which was attenuated for one species could be virulent for another and (ii) the great antigenic variability of the virus. This has meant that the viruses to be used for vaccination have to "match" those occurring in the field. It also means that they should only be handled under strict conditions of containment.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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