Foot and mouth disease: Pros and cons of vaccines

By Nature Magazine - The severe economic effects of the foot and mouth disease epidemic that hit the farming industry in the United Kingdom in 2001 has raised doubts about the efficacy of aspects of the slaughter policy—including 'contiguous culling'—as a way of controlling future outbreaks. Another legacy of the 2001 outbreak was a mass of detailed records that have spawned a series of sophisticated epidemiological models. In a study using one such individual farm-based model, mass prophylactic vaccination emerges as a way of greatly reducing the potential for a major epidemic. Targeting high-risk farms would improve the efficiency of vaccination—and 'predictive vaccination' based on identifying specific geographic locations likely to play key roles in spreading disease would help shorten the 'long tail' of FMD cases seen after many outbreaks.

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calendar icon 9 January 2003
clock icon 2 minute read
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