Higher order taxa
Viruses; ssRNA positive-strand viruses, no DNA stage; Picornaviridae; Aphthovirus
Foot-and-mouth disease virus O
Description and Significance
Aphthoviruses are responsible for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) - a major economic pest worldwide. The disease is endemic in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Sporadic outbreaks in other areas have also been witnessed. A pandemic of type O has been raging in many countries for the past few years. The virus is controlled largely in the European Union by vaccination or slaughter of infected animals.
Unfortunately, the inactivated vaccines presently available are not entirely effective. Vaccination blocks disease symptoms but does not always block transmission of the virus to other animals. This only makes the detection of infection more difficult. Sheep can harbor the virus for several months while cows can do the same for up to a year or even longer. Occasional vaccine-linked disease outbreaks occur as a result.