Using the North American Animal Disease Spread Model (NAADM), Midwest researchers say vaccination for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) would have to be done rapidly to curtail the disease.
The researchers, from veterinary schools in Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota, simulated how fast FMD would spread if 50 herds versus 1,500 herds were vaccinated per day after an outbreak starting in a dairy herd occurred. The simulation was limited to Minnesota, with its 4,000 dairy farms and approximately 930,000 dairy cattle (cows and replacements), along with beef cattle, swine, and small ruminant herds.
The challenge is that FMD is easily spread farm to farm and animal to animal. Even milk trucks will have to be sealed to prevent aerosol spread as they move down highways.
The researchers modeled two types of vaccination schedules: 50 herds per day (done by federal/state veterinarians) and 1,500 herds per day (done by industry vaccinators under the supervision of accredited veterinarians).
When only 50 herds were vaccinated per day, the model suggests the average number of animals infected with FMD ranged from 30,000 to 88,000 head. But when 1,500 herds were vaccinated per day, the number of infected animals was less than 20,000.
Conclusion: The application of a large scale, rapidly administered emergency vaccination program greatly diminished both the duration and the severity of an FMD outbreak.
Having enough of the proper FMD strain vaccine available and mobilizing such an effort are also easier said than done. But the simulation study does show an FMD outbreak could be contained and the majority of dairy cattle protected with a rapid and widespread vaccination effort.