Highly contagious virus that infects cloven hooved animals. It is a picornavirus and is also known by the acronym FMD.
Pigs can develop FMD if they eat infected food. The pig exhales respiratory aerosols which nearby cattle inhale. Cattle are worst affected by FMD. The symptoms include depression, lameness and, as the name suggests, the development of blisters around the mouth and between the digits.
The incubation period is 2 to 21 days. The virus can spread by hitching a ride on animals, objects, people or even the wind. Humans can catch the virus through contact with infected animals and drinking infected milk. However, in people the disease is usually very mild.
FMD can quickly devestate a herd. Sometimes entire herds have to be destroyed as a precaution. Constant monitoring of farms is needed. Europe, North and Central America and Australia have been free of the disease for some decades. However, a recent outbreak in Great Britain has placed the world on alert.