Brazil has prohibited the storage, sale, and use of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines in seven states, the agriculture ministry announced on Thursday. The ministry said that “the withdrawal of vaccination lowers some costs, generating an immediate benefit to farmers.”
The move aims to further increase Brazil’s export opportunities and ensure its status as free of foot-and-mouth disease. The goal is to expand disease-free animal zones without vaccination by 2026.
The order affects the states of Espirito Santo, Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, and the federal district. These states have a total of 113 million animals -nearly half of the country’s capacity- raised and killed for the food industry.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and deer. The disease is caused by the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), which belongs to the Picornaviridae family.
FMD is not typically fatal for adult animals; symptoms of FMD in animals include fever, blisters in and around the mouth and on the feet, excessive salivation, lameness, and reduced appetite.
The virus spreads quickly through direct contact between infected and susceptible animals, airborne transmission, and contact with contaminated objects, such as feed, equipment, or clothing.
Human infections are rare, and when they do occur, symptoms may include fever, vesicles (small blisters) in the mouth or on the hands and feet, and flu-like symptoms.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest beef producers and exporters, accounting for roughly 15% of global beef production and 20% of global exports.
The country is home to large food producers, including JBS and Marfrig, which also operate in the United States. In 2022, Brazil exported over 2.26 million tonnes of beef, generating around $13 billion in revenue.