Weekly Overview: Study Finds FMD Crises Can be Averted with Vaccination Strategy

GLOBAL - Future outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD) can be controlled effectively and quickly with vaccinations - saving millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of livestock - according to research by the University of Warwick, UK.
calendar icon 20 February 2017
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Dr Michael Tildesley and Naomi Bradbury from the School of Life Sciences have discovered that a key issue for successfully containing and eradicating a FMD outbreak is to establish how many animals can be vaccinated per day, and tailor controls accordingly.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers found that the major uncertainty to be resolved is how many vaccine doses are available. If this is known, the infection can be contained efficiently - even when faced with all other unknown factors.

Using the Warwick FMD model and confirming what vaccination capacity exists, the UK could save up to £50 million, and around 200,000 animals could be spared from culling in any future epidemic.

Furthermore, any outbreak using such tailored vaccination can generally be eradicated almost a week sooner than previous outbreaks.

Dr Michael Tildesley commented: "There is always uncertainty in the likely effectiveness of any control strategy for an infectious disease outbreak. However in the case of FMD, if we can accurately determine the daily capacity to vaccinate animals, we can potentially save millions of pounds for the farming industry."

In other news, European farmers in 2016 were able to benefit from a doubling of pork exports to China, according to the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Denmark led the list of exporters.

The AHDB revealed that global pork shipments to the world's second-largest economy reached 1.6 million metric tons.

The board cited the restructuring of the Chinese pig industry as the main reason for the increase in hunger for the product.

However, EU farmers are likely to see increasing competition from the United States and Brazil in the future. After gaining increased access to the Chinese market, Brazil became its eighth-largest pork supplier last year.

In the coming year, the AHDB expects Chinese domestic production to increase, which will reduce demand for imports.

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