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Controlling foot-and-mouth disease in Australia

Australia is currently free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). However, if FMD were to occur, the aim would be to eradicate the disease in the shortest possible time while minimising socio-economic impacts.

The Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) Disease Strategy – Foot-and-mouth disease outlines Australia's FMD control and eradication strategy. It is important for veterinarians to understand the actions government would take in the event of an FMD outbreak in Australia. Governments would also communicate regularly with you regarding veterinarians' responsibilities and any actions you need to take.

The AUSVETPLAN strategy includes:

  • minimising disease spread by implementing strict biosecurity and movement controls over animals, animal products, and fomites in declared areas
  • stopping the movement of all susceptible livestock, initially for a period of 72 hours, to allow time to assess the epidemiological situation
  • tracing and surveillance to identify infected animals and animals in contact with infected animals
  • destroying infected animals and animal products and disposing of them in a sanitary way
  • decontaminating facilities, products, equipment and objects to limit the spread of the virus
  • running public awareness campaigns
  • enabling relief and recovery programs to minimise animal and human welfare issues.

Pre-emptive destruction of livestock and emergency vaccination will also be considered as additional disease control measures.