top of page

Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak

What does everyone mean by “foot and mouth disease”, and should you be worried? Olivia Chan takes you through the latest.


In May 2022, foot and mouth disease (‘FMD’) was first reported in Indonesian cattle. [1] Indonesian authorities then confirmed a FMD outbreak within livestock in Bali on 5 July 2022. [2]


Australian frontline biosecurity officers are taking extra measures regarding flights arriving from Indonesia. This aligns with Australia’s strict biosecurity protocols established to prevent highrisk materials from entering the country by travellers. These measures include biosecurity checks, greater communication material profiling, and inspections of passengers and mail users.


Furthermore, new legislation, the Biosecurity (Foot and Mouth Disease Biosecurity Response Zone) Determination 2022 (Cth), was established to further bolster biosecurity measures. This provides guidelines for biosecurity officers to follow to prevent the entrance and transmission of FMD in Australia.


What is foot and mouth disease?


The contagious viral disease affects all clovenhoofed animals except horses such as cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, camelids, and pigs, which are essential to the agriculture industry. Live animals, meat, dairy products, and contaminated soil, bones, hides, vehicles, and equipment, clothing, footwear, and food, can all be carriers of FMD. [3] FMD transmits through breath, saliva, mucous, milk, and faeces, which is very capable in packed livestock pens. Animals subsequently can become infected through inhalation, ingestion and direct contact. Animals with FMD initially show symptoms of fever, drooling, and lethargy. It progresses by forming vesicles on the lips, tongue, palate, feet, and teats, which burst and leave painful ulcers that take up to 10 days to heal. [4]


Should I be concerned?


There is no need to be alerted. At least not personally, as FMD does not affect humans, only animals. However, if FMD enters Australian borders, it will devastate livestock as they must be slaughtered once infected, leading to shortages in animal products. This may cause drastic repercussions in not only food stock and stock of other animal products, but also their international exports. Consequently, this could lead to drastic cuts in revenue, which could depreciate the Australian economy. [5]




[1] “Foot-And-Mouth Disease.” Agriculture.gov.au, 2022, .

[2] “Media Statement: Foot And Mouth Disease Confirmed In Bali.” Agriculture.gov.au, 5 Jul. 2022, https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ about/news/media-releases/media-statement-foot-and-mouth-disease-confirmed-in-bali.

[3] (n 1)

[4] “About FMD And The Risk.” Agriculture.gov.au, 2022, https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/fmd/aboutfmd#where-the-disease-is-found.

[5] Buetre, Benjamin et al., “Consequences Of A Foot-And-Mouth Disease Outbreak.” Agriculture.gov.au, 2022, https://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/biosecurity/biosecurity-economics/consequences-foot-mouth-disease-outbreak.

Comments


bottom of page