Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach is reminding livestock producers and international travelers to be aware of recent concerns with Foot‑and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks in international countries which may have implications to Nebraska’s livestock community.
“We must be cautious and aware of the countries which have recently announced FMD outbreaks, and remind international travelers and livestock producers welcoming international guests, that FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that poses great threat to our agricultural community,” said Ibach. “Travelers to international countries where the virus has recently been reported or visitors to Nebraska’s agricultural community from these countries should take precautions.”
Ibach said travelers to foreign countries should note on their customs documents, if they visited a farm, ranch, or other location where livestock are raised. This self-reporting is important so that upon return to the United States, travelers can be made aware of steps to protect U.S. and Nebraska agriculture from this contagious virus, Ibach said.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has detailed information on steps to prevent FMD, and the factsheet can be found at www.agr.ne.gov.
The United States has been FMD-free since 1929. The highly contagious viral disease can be spread through contaminated hay or feedstuffs and via respiration from an infected animal.
The disease also can be spread through human clothing, footwear, and other equipment and materials. Although not harmful to humans, the virus can remain active in human nasal passages and it is advised that if travelers have visited a farm or had any contact with livestock during a trip abroad, they should avoid all contact with livestock, zoo animals, or wildlife for five days after they return to the United States.
“There are simple steps to help prevent the spread of FMD, such as not bringing in prohibited food items or soiled footwear,” Ibach said. “With the summer travel season fast approaching, I felt it important to remind Nebraskans about how to help us protect our state’s livestock industry.”
Additional information for both Nebraskans traveling abroad, as well as Nebraska producers hosting international visitors, visit www.agr.ne.gov.