There is strong evidence to suggest that foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) can be transmitted by airborne virus up to many kilometres from a virus source. Atmospheric dispersion models are often used to predict where this disease might spread. This study investigated whether FMD virus (FMDV) aerosol has specific characteristics which need to be taken into consideration in these models. The characteristics and infectiousness of particles emitted by 12 pigs have been studied pre- and post-infection with O UKG 2001 FMDV. Aerosol generated by individual pigs was found log normally distributed in the range 0.015-20.0 μm with concentrations between 1000 and 10 000 cm-3 at the smallest size and 6 μm. No correlation could be established between the production of virus and animal activity. In general the production of airborne virus closely followed the detection of viraemia in the blood and the presence of clinical symptoms. However, in one instance a pig excreted as much airborne virus as the other animals in the study, but with less virus detected in its blood. The results suggest that there is little merit in including a sophisticated virus release pattern based on physical activity periods or FMDV aerosol size spectrum, together with the appropriate dry deposition calculations, in models used to predict airborne spread of FMD. An estimate of the total daily virus production based on the clinical assessment of disease and virus strain is sufficient as input. Crown Copyright © 2006.
- Aerosol size and concentration
- Foot-and-mouth disease