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How to Avoid the Foot and Mouth Disease

How to Avoid the Foot and Mouth Disease


How to Avoid the Foot and Mouth Disease

Article by: Hari Yellina

The spread of foot-and-mouth disease is imminent. It is currently affecting animals in Bali and all of Indonesia. The results would be disastrous if it reached Australia. In the worst-case scenario, a national reaction would cost billions and dozens of severely ill cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats could be put to death. The international livestock markets in Australia would close overnight. A pandemic may cost the country’s economy more than $80 billion. All around the nation, livelihoods would be at danger. If it appears that Australian farmers alone must handle the issue, that is not the case. There is a strong possibility that unaware Australians could bring FMD into the country and disseminate it there.

Many Australians have taken satisfaction in the steps they have taken to’stop the spread’ of COVID-19 throughout the past two years of the pandemic. The public’s job in preventing the spread of a highly contagious disease now falls to restriction-weary citizens once more. Australians are urged to take the risk seriously and refrain from contributing to the FMD issue by the Australian government, the cattle industry, and members of the biosecurity and scientific communities. Australia is not affected by foot-and-mouth disease. That is the promising titbit. Although it hasn’t been here in 150 years, it is now closer than ever.

Animals can contract FMD from each other by breathing infected air, touching blisters, or consuming infected milk, semen, faeces, or urine. It can also survive on car tyres and be transported on clothing, particularly shoes. It is not necessary for travellers to have visited rural or agricultural areas in order for them to be at risk of contracting FMD. The disease can persist on a pair of shoes for two weeks since its incubation period ranges from two to fourteen days. There are increasing calls to limit travel between Bali and Australia because to the threat’s gravity, but Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has rejected this idea.

In its place, the Australian government this week announced a number of fresh initiatives, such as the deployment of biosecurity officers on all flights from Indonesia to Australia. A special message regarding the FMD threat will be broadcast on aircraft, and biosecurity oversight at airports will be stepped up with the addition of extra detector dogs. In the upcoming days, more actions are anticipated to be announced. David Littleproud, the leader of the Nationals party, is one among those advocating for airport foot baths with disinfectant for travellers coming from Indonesia. Foot baths won’t be implemented at this time, according to Minister Watt, in part due to the possibility that passengers will bring several pairs of shoes on vacation and in part due to the footwear preferences of visitors to Bali.

The danger of foot-and-mouth disease in people is relatively low and does not cause major illness, in contrast to hand, foot, and mouth disease, which can be highly unpleasant for children. According to the Department of Agriculture, humans can carry the virus in their nose for up to 24 hours, which can cause animals to contract it later. However, the government assures visitors that FMD cannot be transferred to people through meat. A person wouldn’t get FMD if they had a burger cooked in Bali from a cow that had the condition. Returning travellers, especially those travelling from Indonesia, are urged to treat arriving passenger cards seriously as monitoring and biosecurity precautions are increased.

According to Fiona Simson, president of the National Farmers Federation, “nobody wants to be the one that brings it in.” She pleaded with travellers to be truthful about their destinations and any possible encounters or exposure to cattle. We need to make sure that people understand that [FMD] is so simple to carry and that they should declare any interaction they have had with animals, she said. “To have FMD, you don’t have to have worked on a farm. Any kind of contact with a cow or other animal with cloven feet can expose you, as can stepping in animal faeces. “You could be the carrier. You could be the one who brings it to Australia.”