Foot-and-mouth disease in camelids: a review.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in South American camelids, in dromedaries and Bactrians is reviewed. Recent well-executed experimental studies in New World camels indicate that, although the llama and alpaca can be infected with FMD virus (FMDV) by direct contact, they are not very susceptible and do not pose a risk in transmitting FMD to susceptible animal species. They do not become FMDV carriers. Reports on FMD in dromedaries are, however, conflicting. Serological investigations in Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on thousands of camel sera were negative and experimental infections have been conducted on only a few dromedaries with one serotype and in one country. The design and execution of most of these experiments were poor and therefore the conclusions are questionable. From these investigations, it seems that dromedaries can contract the disease after experimental infection and through close contact with FMD diseased livestock, but do not present a risk in transmitting FMD to susceptible animals. They do not become FMDV carriers. Recent reports from Mongolia describe similar FMD lesions in Bactrian camels. However, so far no samples have tested positive for FMD. To clarify the situation in Bactrians, samples from suspected clinical cases should be tested because other viral vesicular diseases cannot be distinguished from FMD. Thus, further research on the epidemiology of FMD in camelids is necessary. This would include large-scale serological investigations and experimental infections with different FMD serotypes in connection with susceptible contact animals. The Office International des Épizooties (OIE) Code chapter on FMD includes camelids as being susceptible species to FMD, giving the impression that they are similar to cattle, sheep, goats and pigs in their potential involvement in the epidemiology of FMD. This is clearly not the case, and this issue should be re-addressed by the relevant authorities.