Mass annual vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease, previously applied by eight member states in the European Community (EC), was progressively phased out during 1990-91. The other four member states (the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and Greece) either never have vaccinated or ceased to do so several years ago. The EC should increase its international competitiveness if it maintains its present foot-and-mouth disease-free, non-vaccinating status. Freedom from disease and a harmonised disease control policy will also permit unrestricted movement of livestock and animal products throughout the EC when the single market is completed in 1992. Vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease on continental Europe has greatly reduced the number of outbreaks during the last 30 years and this reduction has been of indirect benefit to Great Britain. However, the cessation of vaccination will result in a higher proportion of fully susceptible cattle and in the event of outbreaks will increase the likelihood of the rapid dissemination of virus and increase the risk that the infection will enter Great Britain. The main risks of entry are likely to be associated with live animals in which the disease can be mild or inapparent, ie, sheep and goats, and with airborne virus originating from pigs on the nearby continent especially in Brittany and the Benelux countries where they are present in very high densities.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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