In the years from 1870 to 1929, the US had nine Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks. At the time, animal health officials reacted by stopping the movement of all animals in the effected regions, and destroying the animals. However that approach did not work. Iowa State University animal health expert Dr. James Roth said today things are very different.
“The herds are so large that it isn’t feasible to stamp them out to stop the virus from replicating. And if you could stamp them out, carcass disposal would be a huge problem.”
Plus in the 21st century, there is constant movement in the American herd.
“So there’s a real possibility that by the time we detect the virus it may already have moved extensively.”
And it could take years to eradicate. But Dr. Roth said things might not get that far, if the U.S. had adequate vaccines that get deployed quickly. USDA is in the process of developing a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank.
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