Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was confirmed in Japan on April 20, 2010. The OIE report offers a sobering reminder of the difficulty in rapidly detecting and properly diagnosing foreign animal diseases. According to the report, the herd veterinarian first reported a suspicious case to the government veterinary service on April 9, but tests for FMD were only ordered after tests for bluetongue, bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) proved negative on April 19. Japan has experienced cases of FMD as recently as 2000 and yet the diagnosis of this new outbreak was delayed by 10 days. How long would it take livestock producers and their veterinarians to make the diagnosis in this country which has not experienced FMD since 1929? A report from the UK suggests a lapse of 2 weeks or more is common between infection and detection by herd owners (Gibbons JC et al, 2001).
The immediate aftermath for Japanese livestock producers (as would be the case if FMD were diagnosed in the US) was a halt to the international trade of susceptible livestock and livestock products and movement restrictions over a wide area. On the affected farm, depopulation, disposal, and decontamination commenced shortly after the diagnosis was confirmed.