Foot and mouth disease

Foot and mouth virus

Foot and mouth disease

Foot and mouth disease

Legal Status: Notifiable Organism
Status in New Zealand: Not in New Zealand
Organism: Micro-organism

This disease is NOT in New Zealand

OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) official animal health status for FMD (offsite link to

Risk Assessment Link to PDF document (90 KB) (April 2002)
(This assessment was published in the April 2002 issue of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal (offsite link to under the title: Pharo HJ (2002). Foot-and-mouth disease: an assessment of the risks facing New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 50(2), 46-55).

Immediately report any suspected cases to hotline, ph 0800 809 966

General information

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease which affects cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, llamas and deer. It can be spread by saliva, mucous, milk, faeces and can be carried on wool, hair, grass, footwear, clothing, livestock equipment and vehicle tyres.

It can also spread quickly over long distances by wind.

The virus likes damp, cool conditions and is easily spread when animals are penned up. It does not like warmth and humidity, but in the right conditions has been shown capable of surviving several weeks in the soil, or on glass, sheep wool or cattle hair.

Clinical signs of the disease vary between species, but blisters on the nose, mouth and feet are consistent. Animals stop eating, become depressed and lame and salivate a lot.

There is no cure.

If FMD reached New Zealand virtually all exports of meat, animal by-products and dairy products would stop. They would not resume until at least three months after the slaughter of the last infected animal. The country’s trade reputation would be damaged, unemployment would rise (up about 20,000 jobs) and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would lose $10 billion over a two year period.

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Viral News

A bi-monthly newsletter about the work MPI is undertaking in the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) preparedness space as we continue our journey towards keeping New Zealand FMD free and improving our readiness to respond in the unlikely event of a FMD outbreak. If you’d like to receive issues of Viral News in the future, subscribe here (offsite link to

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Page last updated: 27 August 2014