Foot-and-mouth disease: does feed pose a risk?

The Swine Health Information Centre has approved a research project which will examine the risk of transmitting the virus responsible for Foot and Mouth Disease through feed
calendar icon 9 July 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

Research by the Pipestone Research Group, South Dakota State University and Kansas State University conducted in collaboration with the Swine Health Information Centre showed that different viruses are able to survive in feed during transport from China or Eastern Europe to the United States.

Swine Health Information Centre Executive Director Dr Paul Sundberg says USDA's Agricultural Research Service on Plum Island has been asked to look at the infectivity of Foot and Mouth Disease given normal feeding behaviour.

Feeding behaviour will be targeted in new research looking at the infectivity of Foot-and-Mouth disease

Dr Sundberg explains:

FMD is a very infective virus – it’s easily transmitted from animal to animal.

It's easily transmitted by fomites; in other words, it could infect animals via picking up the virus from somebody's boots or from a transport carrier like a truck or tires so it's easily transmitted among animals.

The real question that hasn’t yet been answered is, how infective FMD is during normal feeding behaviour.

FMD can infect pigs if you inoculate them with the disease orally. You can squirt FMD down their throat and they'll become infected but we don't know what dosage is needed in feed, during feeding behaviours, to be able to do the same thing.

We're going to put different levels of the virus into feed and provide that to pigs as they eat and so that we can gauge the level of virus needed to infect those pigs

Dr Sundberg says work will be conducted at the USDA Agricultural Research Service's high-level biosecurity laboratory on Plum Island and he hopes to have at least preliminary data by the end of the year.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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