Foot and Mouth Disease


I admit it. I have no idea what this really is. Can someone enlighten me?

Here is my wish list:

Brief history
Where it comes from
How it popped back up
What the hell is wrong with England

I think you mean foot-in-mouth disease - it’s been around forever is wide spread. Not sure about England, though.

FAQs on foot and mouth disease.

Whatever is wrong with England is wrong with Wales. (2 cases in Powys, 1 in Gwynedd).

It’s a viral infection which causes blisters to appear in animals’ mouths and on their hooves. This makes them lame and causes them to stop eating. Many of them die as a result. It’s not generally harmful to humans.

It didn’t “pop back up”, it’s endemic in most of the world (North America is the only area which is free from it). There are periodic outbreaks in Europe, but the difference this time is that it now appears that it might be epidemic in England and Wales. The virus is very easily spread in the air and on people, animals and vehicles. The only way to deal with it is to minimise movenment in affected areas and to kill and burn the infected animals.

Bad luck, on this occasion.

So I suppose there are many places where it could have come from. As to how it got here, who knows, it’s extremely easily transmitted.

I’ve never read anything before which made me quite so angry. Other than farmer after farmer going bust after absorbing losses year after year?
Maybe you’re trying to imply that this disease was self inflicted in the way BSE was? I find that hard to believe.

From a USDA site:
foot-and-mouth disease
…caused by a picornavirus related to the rhinoviruses and is marked by ulcerating vesicles in the mouth, about the hooves, and on the udder and teats… highly contagious disease almost exclusive to cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It is caused by a virus that was identified in 1897. Among its symptoms are fever, loss of appetite and weight, and blisters on the mucous membranes, especially those of the mouth, feet, and udder. Discharge from the blisters is heavily infected with the virus, as are saliva, milk, urine, and other secretions. Thus the disease is readily spread by contact; by contaminated food, water, soil, or other materials; or through the air. Humans, who seldom contract the disease, may be carriers, as may rats, dogs, birds, wild animals, and frozen meats.
Quarantine, slaughter and complete disposal of infected animals, and disinfection of contaminated material, are prescribed to limit contagion. There is no effective treatment. With vaccines, introduced in 1938, and sanitary controls, foot-and-mouth disease has been excluded or eliminated from North and Central America, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, and Ireland; and occurrences have become infrequent in Great Britain and continental Europe. The disease persists through much of Asia, Africa, and South America.”

It’s often also called “Hoof-n-Mouth disease.”

I once had a veterinary textbook with some gruesome pictures…you could probably find some on the net.

I’ve never heard of a human contracting it, though it appears that it’s possible. Ulcerating vesicles on the teats. Yech.

(Of course foot-in-mouth disease is a play on words meaning a social gaffe…I figured you didn’t mean that kind.)

Oh, and England? Lord knows.

Thank you and Goodnight.

I have Foot-in-Mouth disease. It mostly involves talking about my boss while he’s standing nearby. :slight_smile:

For a good example, check

Mitch: This guy is not normal. I’m telling you. Did you see his eyes? He’s got crazy eyes. He’s a lunatic. I’m telling you, we are goin into the wilderness being lead by a lunatic. He’s behind me, isn’t he?

MAFF doesn’t think it’s generally fatal.

It’d probably be easier to handle if it was fatal!

*Originally posted by Jingo *

I’ve never heard of a human contracting it, though it appears that it’s possible. Ulcerating vesicles on the teats. Yech.
Apparently some bloke from the midlands (in UK) got it in the thirties, but it’s the only reported case in history. Couldn’t find any details though snce I don’t know enough about the case.

I was of the opinion that while hoof-n-mouth disease was devastating to livestock, the current problem with the beeves in England, and Europe in general, was Mad Cow Disease.

This is tranferable to humans, and currently has no method of treatment and no cure.

There are a ton of links to the outbreak over there.
Thanks for all the answers.

You must not read very much.

It was an obvious joke. I can see how someone might not find it funny, but angry…?
I suggest you avoid the Pit like the Plague. :slight_smile:

It is properly known as “hoof and mouth” disease. Trust me on this, my grandfather spent 30 years working for the USDA on the elimination of hoof and mouth disease. I don’t know why they’re calling it foot and mouth lately.

Well it wasn’t an obvious joke…not to me anyway, but then maybe I’m a bit slow:)
I failed to see the funny side as too many of my friends have lost everything, land, buildings, vehicles, the works. Seeing someone go bankrupt isn’t fun.

I’ll avoid the pit like FAM :wink:

It is amazing the measures which are being taken to prevent transmission of this disease (not surprising, considering the repercussions, but still…). First it was farm quarantines, and then the government asking people not to travel from the city to the countryside and vice versa, and now it’s rugby matches being cancelled and sandwiches being confiscated at the border… where’s Daniel Defoe when you need him?

Once again I marvel that anyone goes into farming as a career. I have relations (on my wife’s side) who farm or have farmed, and it’s not exactly a glamorous life. And when all your work can be wiped out by a stray virus or bad weather, well…it takes a special type of person to do that sort of thing.

But I’m glad someone does, because frankly, I like to eat. :slight_smile:


It’s not generally fatal – most animals make a complete recovery within three or four weeks. The Government reckons that the economic consequences of having foot and mouth endemic in UK livestock are worse than the consequences of slaughtering all the affected animals now and stamping it out.

There was a heated debate about this on Radio 4 last night where somebody (I think it was the President of the Welsh NFU) was arguing that the slaughter was unnecessary and the disease could be tackled by exclusion and quarantine measures alone.


I could see it was a joke but I still found it offensive. How about ending a question about the Seattle earthquake with “What the hell is wrong with America”?

To which the appropriate answer would be “We have our faults!”


This link from the Guardian newspaper, discusses Foot and Mouth disease and contains links to other sources of information.

I’ve only ever heard it called foot and mouth disease over here - maybe this is just another linguistic difference between US English and UK English?

There’s also “hand, foot and mouth” disease for people, usually in kids. These are small blisters caused by adenoviruses that are pretty benign and resolve soon without medication. The worst complication is that kids stop eating since it is painful. I presume this is tangential to what you are talking about.

I am sort of supprised that somebody has not responded to the what is wrong with England question.

android209 I strongly suspect that every body the least bit involved in agiculture in Europe is wondering about this question and trying to determine if they have the similar problems. NPR had someone on saying that they thought the problem was England’s intensive agriculture. Lots of animals packed together that were then shipped far away to be slaughtered. Unfortunatly they did not go on to talk about how that differed from the rest of Europe if in fact it does.