Responding to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak

Australia is currently free from FMD, but it is vital to have a plan in place to control an FMD outbreak if one occurs.

In the event of an FMD outbreak, state and federal governments will follow the Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan Disease Strategy – foot-and-mouth disease. The government will take a number of actions and will keep you informed about your responsibilities and any actions you need to take.

An early critical control measure to limit the spread of FMD will be to stop the movement of all livestock at risk of infection, initially for a period of 72 hours.

A livestock standstill gives authorities time to:

  • conduct disease surveillance
  • trace the previous movements of infected livestock
  • identify geographic areas where the disease may have spread.

Tracing and surveillance will be undertaken to identify infected animals and animals in contact with infected animals.

Animals that are infected, or suspected to be infected, will be valued and destroyed as quickly as possible to reduce shedding of the virus and the spread of FMD.

Facilities, products, equipment and objects known or thought to be contaminated with FMD virus will be decontaminated to limit the spread of the virus.

Public awareness campaigns will be run to ensure all community members are aware of the situation and controls necessary to manage the disease.

Affected livestock owners who hold current registration with Biosecurity Queensland will be notified.

Emergency vaccination of uninfected animals may be used as an additional disease control measure.

Human infection with FMD is rare, and FMD is not a significant human health problem. Generally, human infection with FMD is temporary and mild, only very occasionally resulting in clinical disease.

However, as a precaution, all carcasses and products from infected animals will be destroyed and not processed for human (or animal) consumption.

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