Foot and Mouth Disease Information

An outbreak of both Foot and Mouth disease and Lumpy Skin disease has been detected in Indonesia including the island of Bali. Although the Government has a detailed and well-rehearsed response plan, an incursion of either virus into Australia would result in significant animal health and trade issues. Fortunately, they are not a public health risk.

Early detection is the key to controlling disease and minimising the impacts. It is important that producers and veterinarians implement their on-farm biosecurity plans and monitor their livestock for any unusual signs that might signal the presence of an emergency animal disease.

If you suspect Foot and Mouth disease or Lumpy Skin disease, immediately contact the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

What is Foot and Mouth disease (FMD)?

Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) is a highly infectious viral infection of domestic and wild cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, camelids and buffalo. The virus does not infect horses. Clinical signs of Foot and Mouth disease include:

  • Cattle, pigs, sheep, buffalo, deer, camelids and goats may show fever, drooling and reluctance to move
  • Blisters on the mouth, snout, tongue, lips or between and above the hooves
  • Blisters may be intact or ruptured, exposing raw, painful tissue.

In Indonesia, cattle with FMD were initially thought to be suffering from bovine ephemeral fever.

Spread of the virus is usually by the movement of live animals or exposure to contaminated products such as feed, equipment, untreated hides or other materials.

Illegally imported food contaminated with FMD virus can infect animals. To minimise the risk of spreading diseases such as foot and mouth disease, feeding pigs food scraps containing meat products, also known as ‘swill’ feeding or feeding prohibited pig feed, is illegal in Australia.

What is Lumpy Skin disease?

Lumpy Skin disease is a viral disease of cattle and buffalo that can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses. Clinical signs of lumpy skin disease include:

  • Firm raised nodules up to 50mm in diameter on the skin around the head, neck, genitals and limbs
  • Scabs that can develop in the centre of the nodules and leave ‘large full skin thickness holes’ that are prone to infection when the scabs fall off
  • Watering eyes and increased salivation and discharge from the nose

Spread of the virus is usually by biting insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks. Contaminated equipment and direct contact between animals has also been associated with the spread of disease.