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Hoof-and-Mouth Disease Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Hoof-and-mouth disease (also known as foot-and-mouth disease) is a communicable virus affecting cattle, pigs and other cloven-hoofed animals. Hoof-and-mouth disease is not related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, a virus that infects humans.


It is a member of the genus Aphthovirus in the family Picornaviridae. There are seven types of hoof-and-mouth disease and more than 60 subtypes or strains.

The disease can lead to severe losses in milk and meat production. The death rate is usually less than 1% in adult livestock but the rate may be higher in calves and piglets, according to the Center for Food Security & Public Health at Iowa State University.

Symptoms include fever, along with lesions in the mouth and around the hooves.

Hoof-and-mouth disease is transmitted from animal to animal directly and indirectly. The virus can also be passed from human to animal.

The virus is one of the subjects studied at Plum Island, New York, a government research facility.

Terror Threat of Hoof-and-Mouth Disease

Because it can do great damage to the agricultural economy, hoof-and-mouth disease is considered a potential bioterror threat by the Department of Homeland Security.


The United States has not had an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth since 1929.

2001 – The United Kingdom has an outbreak. Thousands of animals are culled during the crisis and the UK loses billions.

2010-2011 – An outbreak occurs in South Korea. More than 1 million animals are culled.

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