Surveillance of animals for FMD involves close observation and testing. This is also referred to as “disease monitoring” in the producer materials. FMD lesions are typically mild or inapparent in adult sheep making observational surveillance challenging to demonstrate a lack of evidence of FMD virus. The document, Factors to Consider Regarding Surveillance, Biosecurity and Movement Permitting of Sheep in a Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak summarizes virus transmission research, clinical observations, and describes challenges in surveillance options for sheep.
At this time, the ability to provide a very high degree of confidence that animals are negative for FMD virus using currently available, validated laboratory testing methods, and sample collection protocols for large groups or certain types of animals is limited. Diagnostic tests to be performed and sampling protocols may evolve throughout the outbreak based on new knowledge and technology.