Submitted to: Vaccine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2007
Publication Date: 7/26/2007
Citation: Kitching, P., Hammond, J., Jeggo, M., Charleston, B., Paton, D., Rodriguez, L.L., Heckert, R. 2007. Global FMD control - Is it an option?. 2007 Vaccine. July 26; 25(30): 5660-5664.
Interpretive Summary: Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is an economically significant disease of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, and cloven hoofed wildlife species. It causes production losses, particularly to the dairy and pig industries and high mortality in young animals, and is the major constraint to international trade in live animals and their products. In addition to disruption of animal trade, FMD outbreaks have widespread economic and social impacts, both in the short and long term, including disruptions of animal feed, veterinary pharmaceutical and tourism associated industries. The countries in which FMD is found reflects in many ways their level of economic development, being absent from Europe, North America and Australasia, sporadic in South Amercia and endemic in most of Asia and Africa. The presence of FMD provides reason to restrict trade in animal products from affected countries to those without FMD, and thereby denies access by developing economies to the rich markets of the developed world, reducing incentives to improve productivity and efficiency. However, while FMD free countries enjoy the trading advantages that this status brings, their very reliance on maintaining this freedom leaves them very vulnerable should FMD virus be introduced. This manuscript discusses the option of global FMD eradication, its feasibilty with current vaccines and the potential benefits for both currently FMD-free and FMD-endemic countries.
Technical Abstract: The outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Europe in 2001 identified the vulnerability of the intensive agricultural industries in Europe and North America to the economic consequences of the introduction of a highly infectious animal disease. The very large illegal international trade in animal products bypasses the safeguards recommended by World Animal Health Organization (OIE) and put in place by governments to prevent the importation of foreign pathogens. If it is not possible to stop the entry of FMD virus, what are the options to mitigate the risk by reducing the area of the globe in which FMD is endemic? There are a number of constraints that would prevent global control of FMD; current vaccines are expensive, have a narrow antigenic spectrum, provide only short term immunity and are very fragile; diagnostics are also expensive, require training to use and if not handled properly lose sensitivity and specificity; we still do not understand the significance of carrier animals in the epidemiology of FMD, and whether it is necessary or possible to prevent the carrier state: and many decision support tools, such as models are currently more dangerous than useful in that they fail to fully accommodate all the complexities of the disease. The four national foreign animal disease laboratories in USA, Canada, UK and Australia together with the International Livestock Research Institute have put forward a proposal to address some of these constraints (the Global FMD Research Alliance, GFRA), not only to protect their own national livestock industries, but also to support FMD control programs in countries in which the disease is present.