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Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) are important economic events, distorting trade patterns world-wide. The effects of FMD (for example, trade bans, productivity losses, and inventory depopulation) can be extremely detrimental to a country, threatening food supplies, security, and safety.

In 1946, México suffered an FMD outbreak that lasted for 7 years and resulted in large losses in inventory with costs estimated over $250 million.

FMD affects all stages in the cattle production: breeding, feeding and marketing. Hence, it is important to understand the particular characteristics of the Mexican cattle industry to be able to model each stage and obtain an accurate analysis of the effects of FMD on the Mexican cattle industry. Production in the Mexican cattle industry can be divided into two stages: breeding and feeding.

More recently, an FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2001 caused losses of between $3.6 to $11.6 billion, with around 4 million animals being slaughtered. Losses from FMD outbreaks are not exclusive to producers. Consumers can also be affected through market responses, and tourism can suffer because of travelling restrictions.

An important outcome of the current research is to uncover country specific
observations for México. Because only limited research exists for livestock in México, a better understanding of economic consequences of FMD is needed and necessary to prescribe effective policy recommendations for industry and policy makers.

“Analyzing Mexico for the FMD outbreak was interesting because most of the countries that have been analyzed are much more dependent upon export,” Nogueira said. “In those countries, if you declare that you have FMD, the borders are closed and surrounding countries will not import anything.”

Read the full story and more on the Effects of Foot-and-mouth Disease Outbreak in Mexico at Sciencenewsline Nature.