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Foot and Mouth Disease

Signs of FMD Published Thursday, 13th October 2022

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly infectious viral infection of domestic and wild cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, camelids and buffalo.

What is foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease?

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly infectious viral infection of domestic and wild cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, camelids and buffalo. The virus does not infect horses. Clinical signs of FMD include:

  • Cattle, pigs, sheep, buffalo, deer, camelids and goats may show fever, drooling and reluctance to move
  • Blisters on the mouth, snout, tongue, lips or between and above the hooves
  • Blisters may be intact or ruptured, exposing raw, painful tissue.

Spread of the virus is usually by the movement of live animals or exposure to contaminated products such as feed, equipment, untreated hides or other materials.

Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease of cattle and buffalo that can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses. Clinical signs of lumpy skin disease include:

  • Firm raised nodules up to 50mm in diameter on the skin around the head, neck, genitals and limbs
  • Scabs that can develop in the centre of the nodules and leave ‘large full skin thickness holes’ that are prone to infection when the scabs fall off
  • Watering eyes and increased salivation and discharge from the nose

Spread of the virus is usually by biting insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks. Contaminated equipment and direct contact between animals has also been associated with the spread of disease.

In Victoria The Animal, Plant, Marine and Environmental Biosecurity Sub Plan to the State Emergency Management Plan, contains information on mitigation, preparedness, response, relief and recovery to biosecurity issues like FMD and Lumpy Skin.  As the control agency for biosecurity emergencies, Agriculture Victoria manages emergency animal disease outbreaks within Victoria.

What is Council doing?
Council works closely with Agriculture Victoria through the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee and Gippsland Dairy Industry Leadership Group. Council have been sharing information with the agricultural community through the Economic Development team in relation to biosecurity planning. A biosecurity management plan is an essential tool for farmers who want to prevent, eliminate, and minimise biosecurity risks on-farm. A biosecurity plan promotes good hygiene practices and control the movement of livestock, people and equipment onto agricultural properties.Council may be required to provide support to response, relief and recovery aspects in the event of a emergency animal disease outbreak in South Gippsland.

What can you do?
Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s important to follow the right biosecurity practices when returning to Australia from overseas.

If you are attending agricultural properties you may need to follow the properties biosecurity plan.  This may include a sign-in processes, and may restrict access to certain parts of the property.  Properties may have facilities and equipment in place for washing and disinfecting shoes and clothing and any other equipment and vehicles that enter the property.

If you are on an agricultural property and see animals with signs of Foot and Mouth or Lumpy Skin, you should report the incident to Agriculture Victoria on the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or to your local Agriculture Victoria Animal Health and Welfare staff.

Store this number in your phone and don’t hesitate to use it if you suspect something, as time is critical if there is an outbreak.