The measures used to control the epidemics of foot-and-mouth disease in Canada in 1951/52 (29 outbreaks) were compared with those used in the epidemic in Hampshire in 1967 (29 outbreaks). In both epidemics the disease spread more from premises where the disease was reported late and the imposition of quarantine or restrictions on infected premises was delayed. In Hampshire, area restrictions were imposed, susceptible livestock on infected premises and on premises in direct contact were slaughtered, and contacts were traced. In Canada, the initial diagnosis was vesicular stomatitis, no area restrictions were imposed, no tracing was carried out and the animals on infected premises were allowed to recover. However, apart from the disease’s spread through infected meat and by unknown or airborne routes, it did not spread from infected premises once quarantine was imposed, partly owing to the low population density of livestock in the area. The effects of the slaughter of infected premises and direct contacts in the Fareham area of Hampshire in 1967 and in the Chathill area of Northumberland in 1966 were compared with what might have happened if, in addition, culling on contiguous premises or culling on premises within 3 km or emergency vaccination had been put into effect. The slaughter of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs on premises within 3 km two days after confirmation of the first outbreak would have resulted in fewer outbreaks and a shorter period to complete slaughter, but more animals would have been slaughtered. In the Chathill area, the slaughter of sheep, goats and pigs only on premises within 3 km two days after confirmation of the first outbreak would not have resulted in fewer outbreaks and more animals would have been slaughtered. Fewer premises and animals would have been slaughtered by a contiguous cull than by a 3 km cull but more than by the slaughter of infected premises and direct contacts. Emergency vaccination within 3 km, providing protection at four days (but not to animals already infected before the development of immunity), would have resulted in the fewest animals being slaughtered and could have reduced the number of outbreaks in the Fareham area by one and in the Chathill area by two or three. All the procedures would have had a greater effect the sooner they were introduced. However, with many foci of infection, priorities for action would have had to have been established. Earlier tracing of the last outbreak in the Fareham area could have shortened the Hampshire epidemic. Surveillance of a farm identified as at risk through animal movements and by the use of an airborne-prediction model could have eliminated the source of further outbreaks in the Chathill area.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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