Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious virus disease of cloven-hoofed animals (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs). In addition, many zoo and wild animals are also susceptible to FMD. Germany is officially free from FMD; the last cases were observed in 1988. However, FMD still is endemic in Turkey and Africa, in many Asian countries and in parts of South America. Food products introduced to Europe from FMD infected countries represent a constant threat.
Even in case of an introduction of FMD to Germany consumption of pasteurized milk or milk products or of meat would not represent a danger for humans.
The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut was founded by its eponym to conduct research on FMD and resumed its work in 1910. Since then, this animal disease has been an inherent part of the institute’s research activities.