HL Deb 03 May 2001 vol 625 cc137-8WA
The Duke of Montrose

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the relative susceptibility to, and incubation period and infectivity of, type O foot and mouth disease in—

  1. (a) cattle;
  2. (b) sheep;
  3. (c) pigs;
  4. (d) alpaca;
  5. (e) bison;
  6. (f) red deer;
  7. (g) roe deer; and
  8. (h) goats.

Baroness Hayman

All domesticated and wild cloven-hoofed animals may be infected with the virus of foot and mouth disease. The severity of the disease differs with the serotype and strain of virus involved, and the species, sex and age of animal. Some strains are adapted to particular species.

The clinical disease is typically very severe in cattle and pigs and mild or inapparent in sheep and goats, but exceptions can occur. Wild pigs show a similar type of disease to domestic pigs. Wild deer tend to show mild or inapparent disease, resembling the disease in sheep, although some species (for example, roe deer and muntjak deer in the UK) may be severely affected.

The age of the animal greatly affects the severity of the disease; young animals, especially lambs and piglets can die because of damage to the heart muscle, and mortality of 54 to 59 per cent has been recorded in some outbreaks. Mortality in adults is usually less than 5 per cent.

The incubation period for foot and mouth disease depends upon the infective dose. Animals exposed to a high amount of virus typically have an incubation period of 1.5 to 5 days while exposure to a low dose can result in an incubation period of 6 to 14 days.