Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) remains a globally important disease but there have only been occasional recent outbreaks in Europe, e.g. in the U.K. in 2001, U.K. 2007 and Bulgaria 2010/2011. However, this infection still poses a threat to Europe as the disease occurs close to its borders and incursions can occur through importation of contaminated animal products and through the air. To deal with a suspected outbreak, fast sampling, transportation and accurate laboratory diagnosis are critical; testing for FMDV is normally performed on epithelium samples or serum. Assessment of the use of stabilized blood in assays for FMDV RNA is useful as this sample material can be prepared on site for safe transportation and rapid analysis at the laboratory. Such samples are also collected for diagnosis of other diseases giving similar clinical signs. Testing serum and EDTA-stabilized blood samples from FMDV-infected cattle and pigs, using real time quantitative RT-PCR assays, yielded similar results. However, detection of FMDV RNA was less sensitive (about 10-fold) when using EDTA-stabilized blood compared to serum. Thus, diagnosis of FMD can be achieved using EDTA-stabilized blood samples in an outbreak situation on a herd basis, but serum is preferred at the single animal level for optimal sensitivity.
- Foot-and-mouth disease