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Potential role of wildlife in the USA in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease virus incursion
  1. Vienna R Brown1 and
  2. Sarah N Bevins2
  1. 1 Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), National Wildlife Research Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
  2. 2 Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fort Collins, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. E-mail for correspondenceOak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN, United States ; vienna.r.brown{at}


Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is caused by foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) which affects domestic and wild cloven-hoofed species. The FMD-free status of the USA and the tremendous economic impact of a virus incursion motivated the development of this evaluation of the potential role of wildlife in the event of a virus introduction. Additionally, this manuscript contains a summary of US vulnerabilities for viral incursion and persistence which focuses specifically on the possible role of wildlife. The legal movement of susceptible live animals, animal products, by-products and animal feed containing animal products pose a risk of virus introduction and spread. Additionally, the illegal movement of FMD-susceptible animals and their products and an act of bioterrorism present additional routes where FMDV could be introduced to the USA. Therefore, robust surveillance and rapid diagnostics in the face of a possible introduction are essential for detecting and controlling FMD as quickly as possible. Wildlife species and feral pigs present an added complexity in the case of FMDV introduction as they are typically not closely monitored or managed and there are significant logistical concerns pertaining to disease surveillance and control in these populations. Recommendations highlight the need to address existing knowledge gaps relative to the potential role of wildlife in FMDV introduction events.

  • foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
  • domestic livestock
  • wildlife
  • feral swine
  • emergency preparedness
  • disease surveillance
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer All opinions expressed in this paper are the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of DHS, DOE or ORISE.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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