Prepare for the impending outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease

For the late rainy season approaching winter, a common recurring issue is the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), also known as “Hoof and Mouth Disease,” which is considered a localized disease. This disease outbreak can significantly affect animal health, production, and the income of livestock farmers. Therefore, let’s understand the disease and prepare for it.

Cause of the Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease is caused by various strains of the virus. Currently, there are seven types, but in Thailand, three types are prevalent: Type A, O, and Asia 1. It affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, buffalo, pigs, sheep, goats, and deer, excluding horses.

Transmission and Symptoms

Foot and Mouth Disease can spread through various channels, including direct contact between infected and healthy animals, contaminated food, airborne transmission, but mostly through the respiratory system. Once animals are infected with the virus, symptoms typically appear within 2-8 days, including fever, lameness, loss of appetite, and the formation of clear vesicles around the mouth, tongue, and gums. When these vesicles rupture, the affected areas become painful ulcers, causing difficulty in eating. If the virus enters the bloodstream, it can cause swelling and the formation of blisters filled with yellow fluid on the feet, which eventually rupture, resulting in severe lameness and economic losses for livestock farmers.

Prevention and Treatment

Since Foot and Mouth Disease is caused by a viral infection, there is currently no specific treatment available. Therefore, the main approach to managing the disease is symptomatically and preventing secondary infections. Basic preventive measures include:

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