FMD FACTS http://www.rockisland.com/~newmoon/llamas/fmd.html

Is FMD a violent killer of livestock?

No. It is far milder than most other livestock diseases. But it is highly contagious. It is similar to the flu in humans as far as how dangerous it is. (Some humans die from the flu, but most recover. That is why many get a flu vaccine, because it can be dangerous to some.) One of the biggest problems is that animals can recover from FMD quickly and then not be recognised as carriers. So it makes sense to vaccinate BEFORE we have FMD in the States.

Can we spot FMD infected animals before they pass the virus on?

No. Animals shed virus days before you can see symptoms. Cattle shed huge amounts.

Are vaccines effective?

Fred Brown has said that even in tests where huge amounts of live virus had been directly put into a vaccinated animal's mouth (many more times than would be expected in a real situation) the results were negative.

Where would we get a vaccine?

The US has large stocks which could be used along with the Pirbright and EU stocks. Commercial companies can make them too.

Will vaccination work in all susceptible species?

Vaccinations work equally well in all species and there are no special problems with sheep or pigs.

Are vaccinated animals safe to eat?

Yes. As evidence they had been eaten and their products such as milk drunk without any adverse effects for 40 years in the UK before the ban on vaccination started in the early 90's. Plus we already vaccinate for MANY other things.

Can tests tell vaccinated animals from those who've had the disease?

Yes. Tests now exist for distinquishing vaccinated antibodies in an animal from an infected animal. Pirbright has invented such a test in the last few years, as have several other institutions and/or companies in the US and the EU. The UBI diagnostic kits have been vigorously tested and validated, and they are manufactured in a GMP facility with strict quality assurance and quality control. The kits have been commercially available since 1999, and are currently sold worldwide through a USDA export license (except US domestic market).

Aren't there many different strains and sub-types of FMD? Will a vaccine protect against all?

Yes and yes. In this age of genomics, they can quickly synthesize designer vaccines according to the viral genomic sequences. So, even in the face of an attack by a virus of unexpected serotype, they can keep ahead of the virus for protection of the animals.

What about infection from vaccinated "carriers"?

Fred Brown confirmed that no reinfection of other animals had taken place in tests. Näive animals and vaccinated carriers had been penned together and it was very difficult to get infection. He only knew of one case in the past which featured a waterbuffalo in Africa!

Fred Brown has said that 'disease free status' was always a myth. It could not be supported any longer particularly in the new world trading situation and was pointless in any event. What were the benefits? The possible exposure to the huge disruption such as the UK has now experience are unacceptable.

We need to move towards mass vaccination because it has been shown over the years to be the very best way to tackle any type of virus - human or animal. The huge medical successes of the past century had been the development of vaccines - why don't we use them?

In this, the age of the global village, the risks of non-vaccination are escalating.

The risk of accidental infection increases with global trade and travel
The risk of deliberate infection is considered non-negligible by many intelligence agencies
Detecting an outbreak before it has spread far is made more difficult by modern livestock stocking densities, centralized marketing practices and a decline in veterinary surveillance