Foot-and-Mouth FAQ

Answers to your questions about the news.
March 14 2001 4:54 PM

Foot-and-Mouth FAQ

(Continued from Page 1)

How long has the United States been free of foot-and-mouth?

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Since 1929. The last outbreak was in California and was believed to have been introduced by imported wildlife.

How many animals in Britain have actually been diagnosed with the disease?

Since it was confirmed there on Feb. 20, there have been about 220 actual cases. More than 120,000 livestock animals have been slaughtered, and 50,000 more are scheduled for destruction.

How is foot-and-mouth-disease different from hoof-and-mouth disease?

It's the same disease, which is also known as aftosa or apthous fever. While Explainer was unable to locate a veterinary lexicographer, a search of the literature indicates about half the sources cite hoof-and-mouth as the American variation of the European foot-and-mouth, and about half assert the opposite. (Since the Irish ambassador to the United States, Sean O'Huiginn is quoted saying foot-and-mouth is what it's called in Europe, we're voting with the ambassador.) None of this should be confused with foot-in-mouth disease, of whom one notable sufferer is the leader of the free world.

Explainer thanks Dr. Lisa Conti of the Florida Department of Health, Nick Giordano of the National Pork Producers Council, Carole DuBois of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and readers Alan Allport, Matthew Lindland, Kathy Park, and Michael Sobieck for suggesting the questions.

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