Discussion on a Selection of Key Scientific Articles


Recent progress in the diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease: Rapid field-based assays Medycyna Weterynaryjna , 72 ( 6 ) pp. 339 - 344 . Niedbalski, W., 2016

Key Thoughts:
In-field diagnosis of FMD has been a major hurdle in surveillance and control of the disease. Needing to send samples to laboratories in order to correctly type the virus leads to loss of time before controls are instigated and correct vaccination begun. In the last few years, new options have become available and may provide big improvements.

Article Review:
FMD cannot be distinguished from other vesicular diseases and there are seven different serotypes with no cross-protection.  Currently, laboratory tests are required to reliably diagnose FMD and to detect the serotype.  The available tests also have limitation in cost, ease of use, speed of analysis, and sensitivity.  “Point of care”, or “pen-side” tests may be quicker, easier to use, and potentially economically viable.

Lateral Flow Immunochromatographic (LFI) tests have been used for a number of diseases.  The low cost, simplicity, speed of results, and ability to be used in the field have made this an option for FMD and a number of tests have been developed.  The sensitivity and specificity is similar to that achieved with ELISAs in laboratory.  Their usefulness is reduced by the inability to differentiate between serotypes but at least allow an initial diagnosis.

Several field-portable real-time RT-PCR amplification assays have been developed and trialed.  Some of these have been designed with field veterinarians in mind and can offer results in around 90 minutes, with up to five samples being run in conjunction.  Running on battery power, with integrated GPS, and fully immersible for decontamination, these units are a practical alternative.

An RT-LAMP assay has now been mounted on a portable, lightweight device.  It is thought that this may accelerate and improve the diagnosis of FMD.

Although not offering precise diagnosis, infrared thermography is a possible method for screening herds from a distance, even from the air.  A raised temperature is often the first sign of FMD and local inflammation occurs around the vesicular lesions.  Hot feet may be more reliable in pigs, as cattle show a wide variation in hoof temperature due to a number of factors.

Future technologies include microarrays with microchip sensors and portable air sampling devices.


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