Novel sampling method can detect foot-and-mouth disease in absence of clinical infection - Veterinary Practice
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Novel sampling method can detect foot-and-mouth disease in absence of clinical infection

New simple techniques created by scientists
at The Pirbright Institute can detect the
presence of foot-and-mouth disease virus
from samples in the farm environment, even
when susceptible animals are not showing
clinical signs.

The new methods, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, use a simple swabbing technique to gather samples
from the environments that foot-and-mouth
disease (FMD) susceptible animals such
as cattle, sheep and pigs commonly make
contact with, such as water troughs. The
technique requires very little expertise, which
makes the sampling method accessible,
allowing a higher frequency of samples to be
collected and processed during an outbreak.

FMD virus can survive long periods of
time in the environment in the right conditions (up to three months depending on
environmental factors such as pH, temperature and relative humidity), and so sampling
areas where infected animals may have
shed virus allows scientists to detect the
presence of FMD even if the animals on the
farm are no longer showing clinical signs.

This method will allow FMD surveillance
to go beyond the investigation of clinical
signs, meaning that cases which may have
been missed can be detected using environ-
mental sampling methods.

Novel surveillance techniques can support
a robust response to outbreaks in FMD free
countries, but can also be implemented in
endemic countries as part of surveillance
programs to supplement current information about the spread of FMD.

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