Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has been recognized in printed records dating from the sixteenth century, and since the eradication of rinderpest (cattle plague) in the early part of the twentieth century it has been rec- nized as the most important and feared disease of cattle and other dom- tic livestock. The beginning of the twenty-first century brought the worst outbreak of FMD ever experienced in England, which had been completely free of the disease for 33 years. This tragic epidemic, which spread to Northern Ireland, Scotland, France and the Netherlands with severe e- nomic consequences, emphasized the need for further research into better methods for the detection and control of the disease. FMD is caused by a small RNA virus which is highly contagious and can survive in meat and other animal products for long periods at normal pH levels. The virus typically infects cloven-hoofed animals, including c- tle, goats, pigs and sheep, as well as a wide range of non-domesticated a- mals in regions of the world where FMD virus is endemic, such as the Af- can continent. There are seven recognized serotypes of FMD virus, with numerous subtypes, and as a consequence vaccine production and administration is complex and a major debate surrounds every disease outbreak regarding the relative merits of vaccination as opposed to the slaughter of all infected animals.
The chapters in this volume provide an account of the present knowledge and understanding of Foot and Mouth disease virus pathogenesis and global epidemiology, the detailed structure of the virus itself and the properties of its RNA genome. Also considered are the immune response of the host and the state of the art in vaccine production, and the nature of virus evolution. It is clear that in all these areas there is still much more to learn about this fascinating virus. Because of its highly contagious nature research work on FMDV is restricted to a small number of laboratories worldwide that have adequate containment facilities. Despite this restriction, the recent progress in research on FMDV which is described in this volume has provided a remarkable level of understanding of this unique virus.
Preface.- Introduction and History of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.- Foot-and-Mouth Disease - Host Range and Pathogenesis.- Translation and replication of foot-and-mouth disease virus RNA.- The structure of foot-and - mouth disease virus.- Natural and vaccine-induced immunity to foot-and-mouth disease.- Global epidemiology and prospects for control of foot-and-mouth disease.- Foot-and-mouth disease evolution: exploring pathways towards virus extinction.-Subject Index