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Colombia declared free of foot-and-mouth disease

Colombia will look to double its meat exports now it has regained its status as a country free of foot-and-mouth disease, President Ivan Duque has said.

7 February 2020, at 10:20am

Foot-and-mouth is a highly contagious viral disease found in animals and is one of the most serious to affect livestock, including cattle, sheep and pigs.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which suspended the Andean country's foot-and mouth-free status in August 2018, said on its website that Colombia had now fulfilled the requirements to be re-declared free of the disease.

"We have waited months for this news," Duque told reporters. "Now we want to open markets for Colombian meat... our goal is to double our meat exports in the coming years."

Colombia is classed by the OIE as a country where vaccination for the disease is practised.

Foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) should always be considered if sudden widespread lameness appears. In all countries it is notifiable and must be reported to the authorities with all speed.

FMD is the most important restraint to international trade in animals and animal products. Consequently, large sums of money have been invested in control and eradication programmes and also into research. As a result more is known about the FMD virus than about almost any other animal infection.

It generally produces severe disease in pigs.

Clinical signs

  • Sudden widespread lameness.
  • Affected pigs salivate.
  • Blisters or vesicles are evident on the skin of up to 30mm in diameter. Common sites are:
    • top of the claws;
    • heels;
    • nose;
    • tongue;
    • lips;
    • teats of recently farrowed sows.
  • Within 24 hours many of the vesicles will have burst.
  • On the lips and teats they may leave shallow erosions but on the coronets of the feet secondary infection and trauma may convert them into raw jagged-edged ulcers.
  • Chomping of jaws.
  • Inappetence.
  • Depression.
  • Fever of about 40.5º (105ºF).
  • Thimbling (complete loss of hooves).
  • Abortion in sows.
  • Death in severe cases.

Sows

  • Abortion.

Piglets

  • Increased morality (this is often the first sign).
  • Cardiac arrest.

Boars

  • May stop serving sows.
  • Lameness.

The early signs of swine vesicular disease (SVD) when it is severe, are indistinguishable from FMD so you should suspect it too.