Add Iran to the list of countries with confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease. It joins England, which has 69 sites with animals confirmed to have the disease, and France, which has had sheep at nine different farms test positive. In addition, Belgium is testing animals that have shown some signs of the disease.
Authorities in Europe have adopted several security measures to try and keep the disease from spreading. Irish soldiers are manning checkpoints on its border with Britain. France, Germany and the Netherlands have been destroying all imported British meat products to try and minimize the risk to their farms. In the United States, visitors from Britain are required to have their shoes disinfected before entering the country. In Britain, more than 50,000 animals have been slaughtered to try in control the spread of this financially devastating disease. And Britain has imposed an export ban on all meat products, which carries a cost of about $12 million per week in lost sales.

The disease is difficult to contain as it can be carried by the wind, people, on clothes, shoes, cars and even by hay, water and manure. This is the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain since 1981. The United States hasn’t had the disease since 1929.

To learn more about foot-and-mouth disease, including what signs to look for in your cattle, check out the USDA-fact-sheet link listed below.