Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious but not necessarily fatal viral infection that is transmitted through dust particles in the air, infecting the hooves and mouths of pigs, cattle, sheep, and goats. In recent weeks, a string of cases have been reported in England, sparking fears of another repeat of the epidemic of 1967, in which over 400,000 animals were destroyed. Farmers and government officials have so far followed the standard plan for dealing with such outbreaks: isolate affected farms and destroy infected herds. As part of this effort, local authorities have been empowered to prevent all foot traffic in designated areas and there has even been talk of delaying the impending general election in Britain for fear that politicians and staff on the campaign trail might spread the disease. This site, a special report from the BBC, contains breaking news, analysis, background information, and audio and video selections.
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