Specialists from the state veterinary service vaccinate the entire livestock against foot-and-mouth disease. It is an animal infection that spreads very easily but is difficult to treat, so infected animals are usually destroyed and discarded. The works are expected to be completed by June 1.
We asked Vladimir Samodurov, head of the Veterinary Department of the Altai Territory, to tell us about this disease.
– Vladimir Vladimirovich, let’s start with the dangers of foot-and-mouth disease.
– First, this infection is capable of spreading rapidly regardless of state borders. It has a negative impact on international animal trade and food security. It is no coincidence that foot-and-mouth disease is under the close scrutiny of the veterinary services of most countries of the world and international organizations.
The causative agent of the disease is a virus that contains RNA with complex antigenic synthesis. The disease affects cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other artichokes. Intensive breeding animals are more susceptible to disease than traditional breeds.
The incubation period of the disease is from 2 to 14 days. The main source of the infectious agent are sick, recovered, susceptible animals in the incubation period and carriers of viruses.
The virus is transmitted mainly through airborne routes and through contact through animal products, feed, equipment, materials and other materials and technical means that have been infected with foot-and-mouth disease. It can also be transported by service personnel who have been in contact with sick and sick animals.
– How to understand that the animal is sick with foot-and-mouth disease?
A typical clinical sign is the appearance of ulcers on the tongue, lips, oral cavity, in the area of the mediastinum, in the crown and in the breasts. Rupture of wounds can lead to the formation of erosions, lameness, reluctance of the animal to move and take food. Corrosion usually heals within 7 days, but complications can occur in the form of secondary bacterial infection.
Other common symptoms of infection are depression, fever, salivation, loss of appetite and weight, stunted growth and decreased milk production.
These clinical symptoms may be mild in sheep and goats, but evident in cattle and pigs.
The severity of the clinical symptoms will depend on the strain of the virus, the age, the species and the immunity of the animal. The incidence can reach 100% in vulnerable populations. Mortality in adult animals is usually low at 1–5%, in young animals – up to 20% or more.
How common is this infection?
– In 2021, foot-and-mouth disease cases were recorded in China, Mongolia and an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Orenburg region of the Russian Federation. The focus of the infection was 1830 cattle, 600 small cattle and 30 pigs.
This year, the infection was detected in Kazakhstan, Israel, Palestine and South Africa.
In the territory of the Altai Territory, the last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was recorded in 1974. Subsequently, 4 cases were identified in the Pavlovsky, Kalmansky and Talmensky regions, in which 449 head of cattle and 3368 heads of pigs became ill.
What measures are being taken to combat this virus?
The implementation of the foot-and-mouth disease control strategy varies from country to country and depends on the epidemiological situation.
The International Bureau of Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have set up a joint working group on foot-and-mouth disease, which has developed a 15-year global strategy to control the infection in consultation with regional and scientific organizations. specialists. Currently, about 80 countries are participating in its implementation.
A comprehensive foot-and-mouth disease control program for the period 2020–2025 has also been developed and approved in the Altai Territory. In this context, measures are taken for livestock.
To control the epizootic, thousands of studies of biological material from farm animals and wildlife animals are performed annually. So far everything has been negative.
This year, as part of the federal monitoring, it is planned to take two samples of blood serum from cattle in at least 25 places in the region. At the same time, at least 15 samples must be taken from each point.
– It is known that the main method of disease prevention is the vaccination of animals. What kind of work is being done in this direction in the Altai Territory and by whom?
– In view of the unfavorable situation with the foot-and-mouth disease that has developed in the territory of Kazakhstan and the introduction of the disease in Russia in 2021, antipyretic vaccination of cattle and small ruminants has resumed in the region of entities of the Russian Federation bordering the Caucasus.
In the Altai Territory, foot-and-mouth disease vaccination has resumed since January this year. Currently, more than 200,000 head of cattle and about 50,000 heads of small ruminants have been vaccinated. This event took place entirely in the regions bordering Kazakhstan.
More than 250 specialists from the regional state veterinary service participated in the vaccination from January 18 to March 1, 2022. More than 150 people received awards from the Veterinary Administration of the Altai Territory for timely and high quality vaccination.