FMD virus


History & Significance
Symptoms & Pathogenesis
Contact Us
Quarantine Farm

Currently, Canada has been listed as free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE). This is an important status to maintain to avoid international trade restrictions.  FMD is a reportable disease in Canada under the Health of Animals Act.  If a reportable disease is suspected it must be reported immediately The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  The CFIA is responsible for the control and eradication of FMDV. This web page provides an overview of the CFIAs guidelines of how to keep Canada FMD-free, what measures are in place to control the disease if it were identified in Canada, and vaccine information.


The most common ways that FMD enters a country are through infected animals or animal products and mechanical transmission from infected clothing, footwear, and equipment. Therefore, the CFIA has prohibited the importation of livestock and livestock products from infected countries into Canada. Farm equipment from the UK and the EU are also banned from entering Canada. There has also been increased surveillance of passengers and baggage from international flights and passengers must walk through a disinfectant foot bath before entry into Canada.  The Department of National Defense, in cooperation with the CFIA, has developed a national directive for biosecurity measures for incoming British military personnel and equipment.

Individuals are also responsible for taking care not to introduce FMD into the country. Travellers must declare all animal products brought into Canada. The CFIA also recommends that people entering Canada from a country with FMD should avoid all contact with livestock and related operations, wilderness areas, national parks and zoos for two weeks. If this is unavoidable individuals should make sure to shower, clean and disinfect all footwear, clothing and personal effects used abroad and wear protective clothing while visiting the susceptible premises.
People that live on a farm are advised to not return home for 36 hours and clean and disinfect personal effects before doing so. Additionally it is recommended that visitors to the farm also take necessary precautions to avoid introducing FMD.

For more information on keeping Canada free of FMD see
CFIA website on FMD

Quarantine efforts


The CFIA has a “Hazard Specific Plan” which outlines, among other aspects of the disease, principles of control.  The current disease control plan as outlined by the CFIA Hazard Plan includes the following: 

Stamping Out: Slaughter of infected and exposed animals and disposing of carcasses preferably by burial or burning.

Quarantine and Movement Controls
:  Place under quarantine all areas that are within a five km radius of positive FMD infected premises.  Decontaminate or dispose of decontaminated materials.  Control movement in the infected zone and surrounding areas.

Pre-emptive Slaughter
: Slaughter of exposed animals prior to the manifestation of clinical signs.

Tracing and surveillance: Investigate all movements of potentially infected animals, animal products or contaminated material.

: Administer emergency vaccination to animals at risk if necessary (for more about vaccination see below).

Treatment of Animal Products and By-products: Restrict the movement and export of fresh meat or meat products may be contaminated by FMD according to the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

Disinfect all equipment and materials in areas known to be exposed to FMD. If there is the possibility for inadequate disinfection then these materials would be destroyed.

Wildlife and Vector Control:
Rodents and arthropods may be exterminated if deemed a risk of transmission.

Zoning/Regionalization: The OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code outlines the requirements for establishing "free" and "infected" zones. Surveillance to establish disease-free status and negotiation for recognition of such with international trading partners would be undertaken as soon as possible.

Cattle Vaccination

There are seven main types and about 60 subtypes of FMD virus.  There is no cross-protection between serotypes and two strains within a given serotype may differ by as much as 30% for a gene. This means that FMD vaccines must be highly specific for a particular strain. Furthermore the vaccine will normally protect animals from developing clinical signs of disease, but will not necessarily protect animals against FMDV infection. Vaccination only provides temporary immunity so animals would need to be inoculated frequently.

Historically inactivated FMDV was used to inoculate animals. However, some of those early vaccines resulted in disease.  Current vaccines contain key antigens and therefore are safer as well as effective. Because it is difficult to distinguish between an infected and a vaccinated animal, The OIE recognizes countries as FMD present with or without vaccination, FMD-free with vaccination, and FMD-free without vaccination. Countries like Canada, that are designated FMD-free without vaccination have the greatest access to export market and thus work hard to maintain their current status.  Due to export restriction on countries using the vaccine Canada would only consider vaccinating animals in the face of an outbreak.

Commercially available FMD vaccines are provided by the following companies:
Bayer HealthCare
Indian Immunologicals Ltd

For more information of FDM vaccination go to:
APHIS fact sheet
CFIA FMD vaccination information

FMD Quick Quiz

wcvm logo
Created September 2010
History &

Symptoms &
Contact Us

in association with
Western College of Veterinary Medicine