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Published On: Mon, Jan 7th, 2013

Foot-and-mouth disease outbreak confirmed in China’s Sichuan Province

Coronary band vesicles on the feet of a pig with Foot-and-mouth disease.Credits:   USDA

Coronary band vesicles on the feet of a pig with Foot-and-mouth disease.
Credits: USDA

Chinese agriculture officials are confirming a small outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, according to a Xinhua report Jan. 7.

According to the report, a total of 30 pigs at a slaughterhouse in the city of Guangyuan showed symptoms associated with foot-and-mouth disease on Saturday.

Samples from the pigs were tested by The National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory and were confirmed positive for type O foot-and-mouth disease.

A total of 124 pigs were culled and the affected area was sterilized to help prevent further spread of the virus.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) officials say it is now “under control”.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer, and other cloven-hooved ruminants. FMD is not a threat to people and no human health risks are associated with the disease. FMD is caused by a virus. Signs of illness can appear after an incubation period of 1 to 8 days, but often develop within 3 days.

There are seven known types and more than 60 subtypes of the FMD virus. Vesicles (blisters) followed by erosions in the mouth or on the feet and the resulting excessive salivation or lameness are the best known signs of the disease. FMD, however, can be confused with several similar diseases, including vesicular stomatitis and swine vesicular disease. Whenever mouth or feet blisters or other typical signs are observed and reported, laboratory tests must be completed to determine whether the disease causing them is FMD.

Though the virus has a relatively low mortality rate of 2-5%, to stop the rapid spread of the disease, slaughtering of large quantities of animals is required.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He regularly writes about infectious disease news for Examiner.com and administers the Outbreak News section of The Global Dispatch.

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