Foreign animal diseases

Foreign animal diseases (FAD) are generally defined as important transmissible diseases of livestock or poultry that are not known to exist in the United States or its territories and that have the potential for significant economic and/or health impacts. Some examples include highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry, African swine fever in pigs, and foot and mouth disease in all cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. An outbreak of an FAD in the United States not only affects animal health and production, but can also result in the loss of international trade markets.

Foot and mouth disease

Also known as hoof and mouth disease, foot and mouth disease (FMD) is the most contagious disease of cloven-hooved animals, and the FAD of biggest concern to the dairy industry. It is present in two-thirds of the world, but North and Central America and Western Europe are currently FMD-free. The virus that causes the disease is shed in the saliva, breath, urine, feces, semen, and milk of infected animals. This allows the virus to spread readily, either by direct contact or through contaminated equipment, vehicles, footwear, and clothing.

Although most animals exposed to the virus become infected and show signs of disease, few adult animals die from the infection. The virus causes painful sores in the mouth and on the tongue, nose, teats, and hooves, resulting in lameness, poor appetite, and decreased milk production. Some recovered animals never return to full production, contributing to the economic impact of the disease. More information on FMD is available in the Producer section and Hauler section.

  • FMD does not pose a risk to public health or food safety, and it is not the same disease as hand, foot, and mouth disease in humans.