The virus that causes FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) is one of the most feared among farmers. It can decimate herds. Even if animals recover, beef and milk production can be severely impacted. FMD is so contagious, and such a dreaded disease, that animal health agencies in outbreak countries fear stigmatization if outbreaks aren't eradicated quickly. Draconian measures such as mass killings and burning of carcasses are often employed, as the effectiveness of vaccines is short-lived, and the FMD virus has seven distinct varieties. As part of our special World of Virus series, producer Judith Kampfner takes us to the UK, where the damage from an FMD outbreak 10 years ago is still fresh in farmers' minds, and to South Korea, which has dealt with 5 outbreaks in the past decade, to show us the devastation of FMD, why it's so hard to eradicate, and the drastic steps taken to keep the US FMD-free.
Foot and Mouth Disease was produced by Judith Kampfner, and mixed by Jared Weissbrot with support from science editor Barbara Culliton. Special thanks to YoonJung Seo, and Caz Graham of the BBC, for foreign production, and to Yunkeong Kim and James Kil for translations. This program is part of the series "World of Viruses" produced with support from SEPA, the Science Education Partnership Award Program at NIH, the National Center for Research Resources, in collaboration with NET Radio, the Nebraska Center for Virology and the University of Nebraska.