Foot-and-mouth disease: recognise and report the signs

Page last updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2019 - 9:32am

How does foot-and-mouth disease spread?

Foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious. The virus is present in large amounts in the blisters, saliva, urine, manure, milk and breath of infected animals.

The virus spreads between animals by:

  • direct contact with an infected animal
  • air-borne particles from infected animals
  • movement of infected animals
  • movement of contaminated animal products (such as wool or manure), vehicles, equipment and people.

The virus can survive in the environment for several weeks. Low humidity, high temperatures and acidic soils help to inactivate the virus. Virus particles can remain in people’s noses for up to 24 hours.

How can I reduce the risk of foot-and-mouth disease occurring on my property?

To reduce the risk of foot-and-mouth disease occurring in your animals:

  • do not feed pigs anything that contains or has had contact with meat, meat products or other products from mammals
  • ensure visitors who have arrived from infected countries wear clean clothes and disinfected shoes.

Other standard biosecurity practices that will help to prevent the introduction of many other diseases as well as foot-and-mouth disease include:

  • isolate new animals for 7–10 days
  • keep fences secure to ensure stray animals do not enter
  • have an allocated area away from livestock where contractors/farm visitors park
  • after visiting another farm, clean and disinfect vehicles and footwear and preferably change outer clothes before having contact with your own animals.

Protect your industry by reporting signs of disease early. If you see any signs of foot-and-mouth disease:

  • isolate the affected animal(s)
  • do not move any livestock off your property
  • call your private vet, DPIRD vet, or the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

DPIRD provides useful biosecurity checklists for livestock producers. See the webpages: Farm biosecurity checklist for sheep producers, Keep pigs healthy - follow the biosecurity checklist.

For more information about the signs of foot-and-mouth disease or foot-and-mouth disease prevention, contact your local DPIRD vet

Contact information

Sue Skirrow
+61 (0)8 9892 8490