The rationale for using emergency vaccination for foot and mouth disease



Report of the

Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare

Adopted 10 March 1999


This report is available on



3.1 Rationale

The rationale for using emergency vaccination for foot and mouth disease is:


1. Fear that after the introduction of FMDV into a free region, it may spread out of control;

In particular, outbreaks in areas containing high densities of susceptible animals

and inadequate resources of manpower or rendering plants for the slaughter and

disposal of animals or outbreaks involving a predicted risk of airborne virus

spread beyond the protection 2 zone;


2. Availability of high potency vaccines.

It has been demonstrated (Salt et al., 1994 and 1996) that a high level of

immunity can be induced by potent vaccines within a few days in both cattle and

pigs. These experimental data were confirmed on several occasions under field



3. Availability of new tests that will differentiate between infected and vaccinated


The availability of these tests allows the vaccine to be used in a similar fashion to

(Note: Differentiation of infection from vaccination by detecting antibodies to NSP in infected ruminants has been described (Bergmann et al., 1989; De Diego et al. 1997; Haas 1997; Meyer et al. 1997; Silberstein et al. 1997; Sorensen et al. 1998b; Mackay et al. 1998a). To date, the detection by ELISA of an antibody response to the non-structural polyprotein 3ABC seems to be the most reliable indicator of a previous infection (Concerted action CT93 0909,1997). NSP ELISAs are simple to perform and are suited to large scale application by a routine serological laboratory. To date (i.e.1999) this test has been validated in cattle (refs. cited above). There is good data available for sheep but further work needs to be done in pigs.)

a marker vaccine.


2 The protection zone is a zone defined by the competent authority with a minimum radius of 3km

around the infected holding, itself contained in a surveillance zone of minimum radius 10km. Zones

should take account of geographical, administrative, ecological and epizootiological factors e.g.

Council Directive 92/119/EC.


4. Responding to public opposition to the implementation of total stamping out and

the demand for an alternative approach or the impossibility of carcass disposal

because of concerns about water (carcass burial) or urban air pollution by smoke

of carcass burning.


5. The successful implementation of emergency vaccination will limit the number of

animals experiencing the symptoms and poor welfare associated with FMD






"This report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare is
substantially based on the work of a working group of the Committee.
The working group was chaired by Prof. G. Panina. The members of the group were as follows; Prof. G. Panina, Dr. R. Ahl, Dr. M. Amadori, Dr. S.
Barteling, Dr. K. DeClercq, Dr. A.I. Donaldson, Dr. P. Have, Dr. S. Marangon."