Foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus that is highly contagious and easily spread between livestock. It can be spread as simply as breathing in an infected animal’s breath that is carrying the virus. If an animal eats an infected animal’s meat, it will also be spread. It is much less of a risk for humans, although if a human eats an infected animal the virus can spread through the mouth (although stomach acids will kill the virus in the meat that is digested).
It’s a viral disease. The FMDV (foot and mouth disease virus) is a picornavirus that infects cattle, sheep, goats, water buffalo, pigs, antelopes, bison, deer, hedgehogs, and even elephants. It rarely infects humans due to being destroyed by human stomach acids. It is spread by contact or aerosol.
Hoof and mouth disease (sometimes referred to as foot and mouth disease) is a common disease that afflicts hooved animals like pigs, bulls, and boars. The diease does not have a high mortality rate, but it is quite common and an outbreak can affect many. Even those animals that survive can still be carriers of the virus, which is predominantly airborne. The disease can also be spread through infected meat and milk, and even transported in clothing.
HMD is not to be confused with Hand Foot and Mouth disease, which affects humans, particularly infants.
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