02 Mar 2001 Pre-2014 Releases

Fact Sheet On Foot and Mouth Disease Issued to All Trainers

Published: 2 March 2001

Foot and Mouth Disease affects ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer etc.) and pigs, but not people, horses, chickens, dogs and cats.

How is it transmitted?

Infection can be direct or indirect.

DIRECT spread is commonly implicated in all outbreaks. It occurs when susceptible animals are mixed with infectious animals (that may be outwardly healthy but incubating the disease) in markets or on dealer’s farms. Unlike many diseases, the virus can also be blown by wind from infected to susceptible animals.

INDIRECT spread occurs when the virus is shed by an infected animal, the infection remains on, for example, pasture, or on the surface of clothing, footwear or non-susceptible animals such as foxes, dogs or horses, until it is picked up by a susceptible animal. Indirect spread commonly occurs when susceptible animals are carried in a lorry, or housed in a shed, that has recently been vacated by infected animals. Similarly, the disease could be spread by a farm worker who feeds a group of infected animals then, carrying the virus on his clothes or his boots, goes into a shed housing susceptible animals.

Whilst the direct spread of Foot and Mouth Disease cannot be controlled once the animals are mixed, indirect spread can be controlled by hygiene and disinfection.

It is possible to imagine any number of ways in which the disease could be spread indirectly. However, the chain of events that would have to occur to transmit infection via vehicles, people or horses at a race meeting is very complex. The more links that there are in a chain of indirect infection, the less likely it is to happen, and the easier it is to break the chain (by good hygiene and disinfection) at several points along its length.

It is for this reason that the Jockey Club is advised that the risk posed by racing to the farming community is small and manageable, and has proposed the following means to control the spread of the disease when racing resumes:

 All cars entering and exiting racecourse property will pass through a disinfected wheel wash.

 All pedestrians entering racecourse property will have to walk through a disinfectant pool/tray.

 All lorries will pass through a wheel wash and spray on arrival, then will be thoroughly power washed and disinfected before leaving. This will ensure that there is no chance that the virus could be carried by the lorry from the racecourse in the unlikely event that it has picked up the virus in the lorry park.

 Trainers will be required to clean and disinfect horses feet before leaving their yards.

 Vehicles transporting racehorses will not be used for transporting any other species of animal.