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Foot Mouth Disease outbreaks reported

Over 100 livestock in Kenya have contracted Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Two have died, according to the Star. Vietnamese farmers and veterinarians are also reporting an outbreak. According to the Viet Nam News, nearly 400 cattle, cows and buffalo have been affected. China has also reported an outbreak. Over 40 livestock were put down after showing signs of this disease, according to Global Meat News. India suffered the largest outbreak, with over 4,700 cattle affected in Kerala.

All these outbreaks have been reported just since the beginning of the year. The Global Incidents Map confirms many cases last month as well.

Cattle are the most susceptible. Pigs though, that is domestic pigs, are often hosts and are effective in spreading the disease, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). FMD cases in sheep and goats are generally less severe than in cattle and pigs. Interesting to note, “Old World camels are resistant to natural infection,” according to the USDA.

Symptoms to watch for in livestock:

* Fever

* Vesicles in the mouth

* Vesicles on the muzzle

* Vesicles on the teats

* Vesicles on the feet

Effect of FMD

It seems almost too obvious to state, yet, if an outbreak kills off a notable portion of a specific livestock, prices will naturally raise. The prices will affect not only the local market or grocery store, but also potentially restaurants and other industries where food is served. From a global point of view, trade may be lessen or even retricted.

Preparing against disaster

Penn State University has designed the ReadyAg©: Disaster and Defense Preparedness for Production Workbook. It is designed for farmers and ranchers but is also useful for preppers with a small farm as well.

Like preparing for any disaster, you should first identify potential areas of concern. Determine any security risks. Once you have identified any issues, prioritize them. A plan of action will help keep you on track with your priorities.

PSU also suggests developing and keeping an inventory of assets. Assumably, a farmer would know whether they have five cows or 500. It is important to keep an inventory of the medicine, the food, and the sanitation tools you have on hand for your livestock.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers many preparedness courses which are open to the public. One course is: IS-10.A: Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness. The objective is “to increase awareness and preparedness among animal owners and care providers, and to describe how typical hazards affect animals and what can be done by responsible owners to reduce the impact of disasters.” The class is designed for farmers, animal owners and care providers.

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