Overview of foot-and-mouth disease awareness among farmers and veterinarians in France

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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is of major concern in most countries including Europe, where no outbreaks have occurred since a decade. Indeed, the risk of FMD introduction from infected countries is not negligible and the awareness of field stakeholders (farmers, veterinarians) is essential to ensure an effective detection of the viral circulation. The French veterinary services launched in 2015 a survey to estimate the awareness of farmers and veterinarians and their knowledge about epidemiological and regulatory aspects of FMD. Official health visits were used to collect information from cattle farmers and veterinarians through two separate questionnaires. The results show that not all cattle farmers were aware of the risk of FMD reintroduction in France and of its routes of infection and speed of dissemination. As for the veterinarians, their promptness to report a suspicion was dependent on the occurrence of FMD cases in European countries. These results highlight key aspectsregarding FMD epidemiology which should be regularly reminded to the field stakeholders in FMD-free countries to increase their awareness and thus ensure an effective early detection in case of FMD introduction.

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