2012 Volume 74 Issue 4 Pages 399-404
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) occurred recently for the first time in a decade in Japan. The index case was detected on a beef-breeding farm in Miyazaki Prefecture, Southern Japan, on April 20, 2010. After confirmation of this first case, control measures such as stamping out, movement restriction and disinfection were implemented. However, these strategies proved insufficient to prevent the spread of FMD and emergency vaccination was adopted. Up until the last outbreak on July 4, 2010, a total of 292 outbreaks had been confirmed, with about 290,000 animals having been culled. The epidemic occurred in an area with a high density of cattle and pigs, making disease control difficult. Invasion of the disease into a high-density area aided its rapid spread and led to difficulties in locating suitable burial sites. Epidemiological investigations indicated that the disease was introduced into Japan approximately one month before detection. This delay in initial detection is considered to have allowed an increased number of outbreaks in the early stage of the epidemic. Nevertheless, the epidemic was contained within a localized area in Miyazaki Prefecture and was eradicated within three months because of intensive control efforts including emergency vaccination. Although this epidemic devastated the livestock industry in Japan, many lessons can be learnt for the future prevention and control of infectious diseases in animals.