We review the literature and discuss control options regarding foot and mouth disease (FMD) in wildlife around the world. There are more than 100 species of wild, feral, laboratory, or domesticated animals that have been infected naturally or experimentally with FMD virus. Apart from the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in sub-Saharan Africa, wildlife has not been demonstrated to play a significant role in the maintenance of FMD. More often, wildlife are passively infected when outbreaks of FMD occur in domestic livestock, and, in some wild ungulates, infection results in severe disease. Efforts to control FMD in wildlife may not be successful when the disease is endemic in livestock and may cause more harm to wildlife, human livelihoods, and domestic animals. Currently in sub-Saharan Africa, the complete eradication of FMD on a subcontinental scale in the near term is not possible, given the presence of FMD-infected African buffalo and the existence of weak veterinary infrastructures in some FMD-endemic countries. Therefore efforts to control the disease should be aimed at improved vaccines and improved use of vaccines, improved livestock management practices, and utilization of programs that can help in disease control such as the FMD Progressive Control Program and regulatory frameworks that facilitate trade such zonation, compartmentalization, and commodity-based trade. Though not meeting the definition of wildlife used in this review, feral domestic animals warrant a special concern with regard to FMD control.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4