AHC News and Updates

Collaborating to develop a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine strategy

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine, which also affects sheep, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed ruminants (horses are not affected). Signs of the disease include fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves; many affected animals recover but are left weakened and debilitated from FMD.

In Canada, FMD is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act. All suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA.

FMD has not been detected in Canada in several decades, but is reported in countries outside North America.

In June 2023, the Government of Canada announced funding of $57.5 million over 5 year to establish an FMD Vaccine Bank for Canada and to develop FMD response plans.

To complement the FMD vaccine bank, Animal Health Canada (in collaboration with Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and experts from the national livestock associations) are developing a vaccine strategy, which means that if an infected premise has a large concentration of at-risk animals, then animals in peripheral farms around an infected premise would be vaccinated to slow the spread until the culling can be performed. Every infected premise will be a unique situation and evaluated by CFIA on a case-by-case basis.

Work has been ongoing since early spring 2023 to draft the protocols specific for each (potentially) affected livestock commodity (beef cattle, dairy cattle, pork and sheep) based on the logistics and nuances particular to the sector.